Learn About the Old Settler’s Music Festival



The Old Settler’s Music Festival is a yearly event that showcases a wide variety of musical styles including bluegrass, acoustic jazz, country, and blues. It is one of the most well-known music festivals in Texas, and it takes place every year in Tilmon, which is located not far to the southeast of Lockhart. Since it was first held in 1988, this festival holds the distinction of being one of the state’s longest continuously running events of its sort. 

Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock, Texas was the location for the first event ever held. After that, it was moved to Dripping Springs’ Stone Mountain Events Center, together with Salt Lick BBQ Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch near Driftwood. 

The present site is a large area covering 145 acres and is situated in the little community of Tilmon. Bands and musicians who have won awards in their respective fields have participated in the event in the past. Old Settlers Music Festival has in the past featured performances by artists.

More than 16,000 music lovers each year attend the festival, showcasing more than 30 different musical performers. In addition to listening to music, attendees can participate in arts and crafts, sleep in RVs, and eat excellent food. Because of its widespread appeal, many people believe this part of the world to be home to the finest venues for live music anywhere in the world.

What exactly is the Old Settler’s Music Festival?

The Old Settler’s Music Festival is a comprehensive event for the whole family, with its origins in music as well as workshops, art, craft, and activities for children. Since its debut in 1987, it has been hosted every year in a rural community in the state of Texas. Artists from a variety of musical genres, such as Americana, bluegrass, country, folk, blues, and others, will be featured on the schedule. Camping is another essential component of the overall experience at the Old Settler’s Festival.

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History of the Old Settler’s Music Festival

  • Old Settler’s Music Festival is a bluegrass, Americana, and roots music festival that takes place annually at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, Texas. The event debuted in 1987 and has been going strong ever since. The Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch near Driftwood, Texas, have hosted the event there for the previous few years. 
  • The Old Settlers Fiddlers Association, which included Wes Green, Ernie Stringfellow, Lynn Cannon, Duane Knopp, and other musicians, met every Sunday in Round Rock to play and socialize. These performers included Wes Green, Ernie Stringfellow, Lynn Cannon, and Duane Knopp. In just a short period, participants from the Central Texas Bluegrass Association (CTBA) began to make their way to the weekly Sunday jam sessions. 
  • At that time, to encourage people to visit Round Rock, the director of public works, Jim Nuse proposed the concept of holding a bluegrass festival that would be paid for by money collected from hotels and motels. Old Settler’s Park served as the location of the event which was made possible thanks to the cooperation of both the city of Round Rock and the CTBA. The municipal council approved the idea, and in 1987, the Old Settler’s Music Festival, which takes its name from the park, made its premiere. 
  • The festival did manage to turn a profit in its inaugural year, so the organizers decided to keep it going even though attendance was not particularly high. Old Settlers Music event founders agreed to continue growing the event with the financial backing of local politicians and the CTBA. 
  • MerleFest in North Carolina is one of the largest bluegrass festivals in the country, and it served as the inspiration for Old Settlers Music Festival. However, in 1989 the CTBA decided to stop sponsoring the festival due to the poor profitability of the event; thus, the city of Round Rock assumed control of the festival. 
  • Randy Collier, a businessman, musician, and CTBA member started by volunteering for the event in 1990. By the year 1994, he had assumed the role of president of the festival, which he continued to hold until the year 2007. Before Collier took over as president of the organization, the festival was contained to a single facility that had a restricted capacity for both festival attendees and performers. Every day, there were a total of 600 people in attendance, and the spouses of the artists ran the little concession stalls, where they sold homemade chili and a variety of other delectable items. 
  • However, after Collier took over as president of the festival, he constructed two more stages as well as a larger concession area for food and craft merchants, and he significantly boosted the number of publicity efforts made on behalf of the festival. Due to the modifications, the event was held in 1997 during the month of April rather than October. 
  • The festival has experienced tremendous expansion throughout the course of its history, but it has also met with its fair share of difficulties. One of the most catastrophic of these occurred in 1997 when heavy rains inundated Old Settler’s Park, which in turn swamped the venues, sound equipment, power sources, and camping areas. The tragedy brought further attention from the media which in effect brought the situation of the festival to the notice of a great deal more people. Even though the festival lost between $70,000 and $80,000 that year, the festival is now known to a much larger audience.
  • Around the year 2000, Collier and the other organizers of the festival concluded that it would be best to move the event to Hill Country to the west of Austin. The festival was hosted in Driftwood, Texas.
  • The festival was relocated once more in 2002, this time to its current venue at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch, which is located close to Driftwood. This spot, which is south of Austin, is tucked away next to the lovely Onion Creek, and it features neighboring campsites that are dispersed among fields of bluebonnets and other types of wildflowers. 
  • The festival has two huge stages and two smaller stages, a young talent competition, numerous food and arts and crafts vendors, various educational programs, and a range of events that are geared toward families. In the 2010s, the Old Settler’s Music Festival, which took place over the course of four days during the third weekend in April, was attended by around 17,000 people from countries all over the world. The range of musical styles represented in the program has significantly expanded and now includes bluegrass, Americana, swing, blues, country, jazz, and other styles. 
  • The year 2008 marked the beginning of Jean Spivey and Scott Marshall’s tenure as the event’s directors. Since 2015, Spivey has continued to serve as the marketing director.

When is the Old Settler’s Music Festival?

The Old Settler’s Music Festival is held each year during their traditional spring weekend in April. The tournament lasts for a total of three days. Old Settlers Music Festival, which has been running annually since 1987 and is located about 12 miles southeast of Lockhart and an hour from both Austin and San Antonio, has become an abundant ground for various types of American music in that time.

How to Get to the Old Settlers’ Festival Grounds

There are several different roads you can use to get to the location of the festival if you are traveling there by car. If you leave from Austin, for instance, you may reach the location in around 52 minutes after driving the 49 miles along I-35 South to get there.

 Another option is to travel through FM812, which is the freeway. In under an hour, you will have traveled the equivalent of 48.7 miles and arrived at the Old Settler’s Festival Grounds. 

If you begin your journey in San Antonio, Texas, in the same manner, take the I-10 East route. The trip has a total distance of more than 110 miles and will require a little bit more than an hour to finish. More than 15 miles away from the location of the event lies the town of Lockhart, which is one of the closest towns.


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Is parking available at the Old Settler’s Music Festival?

Yes. On the grounds of the festival, there are a few different parking areas to choose from. You will need to purchase two different parking passes to park at the campground or during the day. If you are camping and have a general admission pass good for multiple days, you can park in the Meadow lot. 

In addition, a Camping Vehicle Permit is required for any vehicle that is parked in either the Banjo or Collings Campgrounds. In addition, if you purchase a General Admission festival pass, you will be able to park in any available lot.

Is camping permitted on the festival grounds?

Yes. Camping is a staple activity at most music festivals. Be sure to get a General Admission ticket for the festival for either three or four days if you plan to bring your RV. If necessary, additional electrical permits will need to be purchased.  But you should be sure to camp in just the permitted places. 

Additionally, the organizers of the festival request that you do not make any alterations to the campsites, such as mowing the grass or cutting down trees. In addition to this, you need to supply your fuel and firewood to use at your campground.

How Much Do Tickets Cost for the Old Settler’s Music Festival?

For the music festival, there is more than one type of ticket available for purchase. There are four different types of General Admission tickets available, starting with single-day tickets and moving up to tickets valid for two, three, or four days. Parking at the Day Lot is available to you if you purchase single-day tickets. 

You should get the “All-Inclusive Platinum” passes if you want a complete experience that includes camping as well as several additional benefits. Each of these costs $850 and includes a camping vehicle permit, meal vouchers, and other perks in addition to the base price.

Tips for Locating Inexpensive Parking at the Old Settler’s Music Festival

Due to the location of the event venue in a very isolated area, locating parking may prove to be difficult. In this part of town, it’s difficult to find a vacant parking spot on the street. If you wish to avoid the traffic associated with the festival as well as the official parking places, there are other, less expensive options available. You can locate reasonably priced off-site parking garages close to the Old Settler’s Festival Grounds by using the Internet. 

In these private garages, you will not have to be concerned about being robbed or receiving a parking ticket. You can get a discount on parking if you book your spot in advance at these facilities, where you can also take advantage of amenities like valet parking, covered parking, and contactless parking.

Accommodations for Attendees of the Old Settler’s Music Festival

At the Site

On-site camping at the Old Settler’s Music Festival is available for both tents and recreational vehicles (RVs). You will need a general entrance permit in addition to a camping pass that is appropriate for the duration of your RV. There will be water fill-ups and pump-outs available for a cost, and to use the electrical hookups, you will be required to have an electrical permit.

Near the Venue

There are several different RV parks in the surrounding area, in addition to the camping alternatives that are available on-site. These will put you near the natural world, and some of them even provide access to waterways. There are several choices within a short drive of ten to twenty minutes from the location of the festival grounds; however, it is a good idea to inquire as to whether or not any other guests at the site want to travel to the festival. If you do not wish to stay at the venue for the event, you might be able to ride to it with them in a carpool.

Moving Around

Walking is the only mode of transportation allowed within the venue. On the premises, you are not permitted to ride bicycles, skateboards, scooters, ATVs, or any other kind of personal motorized vehicle. Access to most areas is not an issue, and reasonable accommodations will be given to customers with disabilities if they request them. The attendees are asked to stay close to the performance and camping areas and not venture too far away from them.

What to Bring to the Old Settler’s Music Festival?


The Old Settlers Music Festival has a laid-back atmosphere; therefore the majority of attendees will be wearing jeans and t-shirts during the event. It is advised to dress in layers and carry a jacket at all times if a spring chill arrives in the evening. If it does rain, you should also make sure you have some rain gear with you.


Take along some handy items such as blankets, a first-aid kit, low-backed chairs, warm clothing, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, and a portable charger. These things are especially important to bring along if you intend to camp on the grounds. Make every effort to pack everything you will require to maintain your level of comfort for numerous days of the event to prevent having to travel to a larger town that is nearby.

Health and Safety Supplies

Free water stations with filtered water will be available at various locations across the grounds. To ensure that you do not become dehydrated, you should always have a bottle on you and constantly refill it. Put on copious amounts of sunblock and remember to take frequent breaks to seek out places of shade. Any type of glass container, any illicit narcotics, and any firearms will not be permitted.

Where to Eat?


You are permitted to bring your food and beverages into the campground; however, this is not allowed in the staging areas. In addition, customers will be able to buy ice, coffee, and food at this location. Either the stovetop in your RV or a portable grill may be used for cooking while you are here. Campfires are permitted, but only on the proviso that they are constantly watched over and kept under control at all times.

Restaurants and Cafes

Delicious grilled meats have earned this region a reputation for excellence. But there is no cause for concern if meat is not something that interests you. Over the course of the past few years, there has been a significant shift in the dining landscape. You can choose from a wide variety of plant-based cuisine and food that is prepared using fresh, regional products. Lockhart is home to several excellent Mexican and Chinese dining establishments as well.


The organizers of Old Settler’s work along with local establishments of dining, providers of catering services, and merchants to provide attendees with a wide variety of options for their meals. Additionally, each year they collaborate with a new group of brewers so that participants can try a variety of delicious craft brews. In addition, there will be a large selection of foods that are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and organic diets.

Facts About the Old Settler’s Music Festival You Did Not Know

  • The first year of the Old Settler’s Music Festival was staged in Round Rock, Texas’s Old Settlers Park. Following that, the festival was held in the Stone Mountain Events Center in Dripping Springs, Texas. After that, it was held at the Salt Lick BBQ Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch in Driftwood, Texas. 

The event relocated to its permanent location in 2018, which is The Old Settler’s Homestead in Dale, Texas. This venue is situated on 145 acres of rolling meadows and tree-covered campgrounds, and it is only a short and peaceful drive southeast of Austin.

  • Bands and musicians who have won awards in their respective fields have participated in the event in the past.
  • The event used to be known as the Old Settler’s Bluegrass Festival in years gone by. The new name was officially changed in the year 2000.
  • Throughout its history, the festival has been held at a total of three distinct venues across the country. To begin, we will meet at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock, Texas. The second event will take place at the Stone Mountain Events Center in Dripping Springs, Texas. And finally, its third and present location may be found near Driftwood, Texas, at the Salt Lick Pavilion and the grounds of Camp Ben McCulloch.
  • Everything about it is child and family-friendly. After only one trip to the festival, you will understand that the odds of making a friend who is three years old, twenty years old, thirty years old, or sixty years old are, for some reason, the same. This festival attracts a large number of people of all ages.

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What began as a modest, one-day bluegrass gathering has expanded into a multi-day music and camping festival that today incorporates many genres and forms of roots music. The festival’s origins may be traced back to the 1970s. Old Settler’s acquires the very best in roots and Americana music by bringing together the musical styles of well-known performers from all over the world and well-loved artists from the local community. 

Experience a wide range of musical genres, from bluegrass and country to acoustic jazz and blues, as well as reggae, Gospel, rockabilly, independent folk, and more. Old Settler’s Music Festival features a diverse array of musical acts, all of which are sure to get you moving and shaking.

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