Kerrville Folk Festival

Kerrville Folk Festival
The Kerrville Folk Festival is an annual music festival held at Quiet Valley Ranch near the city of Kerrville, Texas. It encompasses a variety of styles and is known for its strong emphasis on songwriting. Founded in 1972, it is one of the largest and most famous folk music festivals in the United States.

Texas is one of the states associated with country music (although here, unlike in Tennessee, Oklahoma or Kentucky, country music has been strongly influenced by the ranchera music of Mexico) so there is no wonder that it hosts one of the oldest folk festivals in North America. The first Kerrville Folk Festival was held in 1972. The event has run annually since then. It is organized by the Kerrville Folk Music Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to support and promote the art and craft of songwriting.

The festival attracts around 30,000 attendees from all over Texas and out of state every year. Its program encompasses a variety of genres and styles such as folk, country, bluegrass, Americana, jazz, blues, and more. Most performers at the festival are singers-songwriters.

The Kerrville Folk Festival strives to promote up-and-coming artists while giving its audience exposure to both well-established, seasoned songwriters and new talent. Well-known artists that have performed at the festival include Nanci Griffith, Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Kerrville Folk Festival hosts the annual New Folk Competition to discover talented new singers-songwriters. Every year emerging songwriters submit their original songs. Out of a possible 800 entries, the festival committee selects 32 promising musicians who are invited to share their original songs.

Finalists perform two songs each at the Threadgill Theater in the festival campgrounds. The jury consisting of recognized songwriters chooses six winners who get a chance to perform a 20-minute set on the main stage as well as receive cash and other tangible prizes.

Winning the New Folk Competition of Kerrville is considered a great success in the singer-songwriter community. Now-known artists who have performed in the competition include Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith, David Wilcox, Pierce Pettis, Cosy Sheridan, and others.

Alongside numerous concerts and the competition, the festival hosts workshops and schools where professional musicians teach a variety of courses, as well as canoe trips and bike rides.

Kerrville Folk Festival

Photo: Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman




Related Articles