Any music festival that thrives for 30 years must be doing something right, and by all accounts, the Old Settler’s Music Festival certainly is. The intimate spring event in the heart of Texas’ beautiful hill country earns acclaim year after year, and the 30th-anniversary festival promises to be the best collection of roots-music acts yet. The partial lineup includes the onstage debut of hot local Shakey Graves (who invented that moniker at the campgrounds while volunteering at Old Settler’s) and Grammy winners Sam Bush, the Del McCoury Band and first-timers Los Lobos. The festival also celebrates Austin’s own crowd-pleasing Shinyribs, the multi-talented Sarah Jarosz and the energetic bluegrass of Wood & Wire. Past audience favorites such as Elephant Revival, Gaelic Storm, the Peter Rowan Band and the Travelin’ McCourys are returning, too. The festival takes place Thursday-Sunday, April 20-23, 2017, at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch in Driftwood, just outside of Austin. Early-bird package sales start Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. via oldsettlersmusicfest.org (Children 12 and under may attend free when accompanied by a paid adult.) Daytripper (single day) tickets will go on sale Dec. 15.
More than 30 award-winning roots, bluegrass and Americana artists will perform on the festival’s four stages, including these first-timers: far-traveling Swedish folk band Väsen and Swedish-born New Orleans bluesman Anders Osborne; North Carolina’s Mandolin Orange (Americana/folk), The Honeycutters (country roots) and River Whyless (folk); Montana’s Lil’ Smokies (progressive bluegrass); Boston’s Session Americana (roots rock); The California Honeydrops (blues/R&B); and Michigan native Billy Strings (jamgrass). Not to mention rising star Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia), the Americana Music Association’s 2015 Emerging Artist of the Year. Returning band Wood & Wire actually formed at Old Settler’s, and Jarosz won the festival’s first youth talent competition in 2002. More artists will be added in the coming weeks.