A Fun Weekend at Old Settlers Music Festival and Golfing
Old Settler’s Music Festival is Central Texas' signature music event featuring Grammy winning Americana music with over 30 bands on 5 stages, arts and crafts, camping, food concessions and libations on the southern edge of Austin where “Music meets the Hill Country”. Old Settler’s is a four-day event that is held about a mile from Driftwood in the Salt Lick BBQ pavilion area along the banks of Onion Creek (which was dry due to the 2006 drought) and two blocks from Camp Ben McCulloch. It is a pricey event but well worth the money if you like a variety of different types of music including bluegrass, country, reggaebilly, jazz, and jam. You’ll experience excellent music from bands coming from California, Virginia, and the frozen north. For you musicians, there are a series of workshops (guitar, banjo, and fiddle) from some incredibly talented musicians to help you increase you skills.
Old Settler’s attracts a variety of different and very friendly people who are serious about music -- its not your rowdy crowd like you find at events like Larry Joe Taylor. This crowd is here for the music. Old Settler's is a very kid friendly event with a number of things for kids to enjoy – pony rides, petting zoo, inflatable slides, face painting, kite making, climbing wall, and bungee jump. At times, Old Settler’s was a flashback to my old hippie days in San Francisco when we attended Joan Baez and Judy Collins concerts in the ‘60s. This event is complete with tie-dye shirts, long flowery skirts, hula-hoops, and more. There are a few arts and crafts booths, food vendors (including the infamous Salt Lick BBQ which is a block from the Pavilion and across the street from the campground – excellent barbeque!), and of course beer ($4 for a cold bud or Fat Tire) and drink concessions.
Camping is available in Camp Ben McCulloch and there are a limited number of sites with water and electricity mixed among the trees. There is plenty of space for dry or tent camping with some pretty spots in the trees and along Onion Creek. Shuttle buses ferry the fans back and forth from the campground to Salt Lick Pavilion. The buses run frequently, the ride is very short, and can be quite entertaining in and of itself.
Music started on Thursday around 5:00 on the campground stage with some outstanding bands and concluded around midnight with the folk, bluegrass, and reggaebilly legend Peter Rowan. The campground stage also had music on Friday afternoon (one band) and Sunday morning from 10 to 3. Salt Lick Pavilion music started on Friday around 5 with bands on two stages – one in a wooded area along the creek and the other in an open field. The bands overlapped starting times so you had a chance to catch some of the performances on both stages. Saturday the music started at 11 with a youth talent competition and concluded with a very well done and entertaining tribute (multiple musicians, video, and quotes) to Vassar Clements. After the concert, they closed the road and had a “midnight march” back to the campground.
One of our favorite parts of Old Settler’s is the jam and pickin’ sessions in the campground that last into the wee hours of the night. You will hear some very talented musicians and singers as they jam around the campfire – this alone is worth the price of admission. There is also a lot of good picking at various campsites all during the day. Grab your instrument or chair and join in the fun.
If you like outstanding America music with fun and friendly crowds, save your money and vacation time for this Old Settlers next year.
Before the music started on Friday we played golf at Quicksand Golf Course in Wimberley, which is 15 miles from the festival. We rated Quicksand a solid 6.6 stars – click on the Quicksand link to read the review. Wimberley is a cool town and worth visiting if you’re not into golf.
Saturday morning we explored some of the pretty countryside enjoying the scenery on the back country roads. On the way back to the festival, we stopped at Driftwood Vineyards (5 miles from the festival) to sip some of their award winning Mediterranean style wines. After sampling, buy a bottle of your favorite and enjoy the wine (don’t forget to bring cheese and crackers) on their deck or picnic area with breathtaking views of the valley and vineyard. What a great way to spend a few hours.
Sunday we left early to play Lakeway’s Yaupon golf course. What an outstanding course and it quickly became one of the Texas Outside Favorites with a rating of 8.7 stars. Read our review of Yaupon Golf Course to learn more.
Great music, great golf, super crowd, good food, pretty scenery, cold beer, perfect weather, and excellent company -- all wrapped up into one weekend, can it get any better than that?