When it comes to legacy, few can boast of a better one than the Kerrville Folk Festival. The acoustic music showcase founded by Rod Kennedy in 1972 continues to grow.

As a result, loyal attendees, known as perverts, return year after year, treating Quiet Valley Ranch like their second home. Relationships start and end there; even kids are born on the grounds.

Kerrville Folk Festival Celebrates 50 Years of Music, Community, and Lasting Memories


If you’re a fan of singer-songwriters, the Kerrville folk festival is where it’s at. For 18 days, the Quiet Valley Ranch outside of Kerrville is transformed into a music lover’s utopia. The Festival features evening concerts and daytime activities, including group hikes, bike rides, craft beer and wine seminars, and classes and workshops for developing your talents. Whether you’re looking for bluegrass, country, acoustic rock, or jazz, the Festival has something for everyone.

Rod Kennedy started the Festival in 1972 after he was asked to create a musical event as an additional attraction for a Texas State Arts and Crafts Fair. He quickly realized he needed larger quarters. In 1973, he purchased a sixty-acre plot south of Kerrville and began removing cedar stumps from the property. The first outdoor Festival featured a lineup that included local Austin musicians such as National Fiddling Champion Dick Barrett and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary.

The Festival continues to grow yearly, with over 1,500 outstanding singer-songwriters performing on its stages. It also includes the New Folk Competition, which has helped launch the careers of musical greats such as Anais Mitchell and Robert Earl Keen. This year’s New Folk finalists will perform in afternoon sessions at the Threadgill Theater during the Festival’s first weekend.

Despite its popularity, the Festival has never lost its intimate atmosphere. During the day, guests can enjoy impromptu jam sessions around crackling campfires. Many performers even stay on the grounds for the Festival, so you’ll never have to leave for home.

The annual Kerrville folk festival is a week-long celebration of the art of songwriting. It is the largest and longest-running Festival in the United States. It features various musical genres and draws visitors from all over the country. The Festival is held annually in late spring or early summer at the Quiet Valley Ranch near Kerrville, Texas. The Festival strongly emphasizes songwriting, though it also strongly emphasizes genres.


The Kerrville Folk Festival is a music festival over 18 consecutive days in late spring/early summer. It draws around 30,000 people annually and is held at Quiet Valley Ranch near Kerrville, Texas. The Festival strongly emphasizes songwriting, though the performances strongly emphasize styles. Tickets (single-day or season passes) are required for admission. Many attendees camp out on the festival grounds for part or all of the event.

The Festival also offers classes and workshops taught by renowned musicians. These workshops range from songwriting to guitar and harmonica lessons. They are provided at various ticket prices and are a great way to learn from the pros. The Festival is a fun environment and a good way to meet new people.

Every year, the Festival hosts a competition to discover promising new singer-songwriters. Thirty-two finalists are selected from 800 submissions to share two original songs during the New Folk Concerts in the afternoon. A panel of judges then chooses six winners. The winner receives a monetary award and the opportunity to perform in the evening concerts. Past finalists have included Nanci Griffith, Steve Earley, and James McMurtry.

Although the evening concerts are a huge draw for attendees, many visitors say the true heart and soul of the Festival is found in the campgrounds. Guests often gather in song circles around campfires to hear amazing songwriters in a more intimate setting. Impromptu jam sessions are common and can feature some of the best talent in the country.

While you’re at the Festival, be sure to check out the local restaurants and shops. They’re a wonderful way to experience the culture of Hill Country and make your visit more memorable. The Festival’s website has a list of participating restaurants and shops. You can even download a map to help you find the locations.


The Kerrville Folk Festival is an annual music gathering in late spring/early summer for 18 days at Quiet Valley Ranch. It strongly emphasizes songwriting and features a broad array of genres. The Festival has a relaxed atmosphere is a great place to meet musicians nationwide.

Founded in 1972 by Rod Kennedy, the Festival has a rich legacy of celebrating folk music and songwriters. Its founder envisioned the Festival as a platform to showcase emerging talents alongside established artists. Since its inception, the Festival has become one of the longest-running music festivals in the country.

Over the years, the Festival has been home to some of the most talented songwriters in the nation. Past performers include Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and Lyle Lovett. The Festival also hosts an annual New Folk Contest for aspiring songwriters and has played a role in the careers of many of today’s biggest names in folk music.

In addition to its mainstage concerts, the Festival offers a variety of other activities. These include daytime children’s concerts, an adult songwriting school, and instrument workshops. The Festival is also known for its laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere. It also offers several opportunities to get up close and personal with the artists.

The Festival is held at the Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville, Texas. It is held for 18 consecutive days in late spring/early summer and attracts around 30,000 people annually. Tickets are available for single-day or season passes. Guests are welcome to camp at the festival site.

DuriIttured local talent in a downtown during the Festival’s early days auditorium. Among the performers was a young Michael Martin Murphey, who had a long career as an international folk singer.

While the Festival’s popularity has risen, its longevity was never guaranteed. The Festival faced financial challenges several times in the past, and the event’s future was uncertain. But despite these struggles, the Festival continues to thrive and is an essential part of the Austin music scene.


Since 1972, Kerrville has been the site of one of the most important gatherings in the history of songwriter-driven music. Over 18 days each spring, thousands of people flock to the Quiet Valley Ranch outside of Kerrville to immerse themselves in the rich tradition of folk music. It is a family affair celebrating artistic expression through exceptional talent and overnight camping. The Festival is a songwriter’s utopia that has maintained its warmth and spiritual optimism for over half a century.

Rod Kennedy founded the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1972 after the Texas Commission on the Arts asked him to create a musical event alongside a new state-sponsored arts and crafts fair in town. He booked a handful of regional artists, including Murphey, who had just released his debut album, Geronimo’s Cadillac. The lineup was a hit, and the Festival was a huge success. Kennedy soon sold his home in Austin and moved to Kerrville, where he purchased the Quiet Valley Ranch.

Over the years, the Festival has added more artists and become a major tourist attraction in central Texas. Many local musicians have a close relationship with the festival and return year after year. These are the Kerrville Family and have been vital to the Festival’s culture and growth.

In addition to the Kerrville Family, the Festival has cultivated an extensive roster of national and international artists. This year, the Festival will feature more than 100 performers. The lineup includes Americana favorites like Anais Mitchell, Mary Gauthier, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and country singers Darrell Scott and John Fullbright. The Festival will feature jazz musicians such as the acclaimed saxophonist Mark O’Connor and bluegrass artist Tim O’Brien.

Photographer David Johnson has been attending the Kerrville Folk Festival for over twelve years, and his photography project explores the community, landscape, and music of this annual event. He calls it “Burning Man for three-generation Texas hippies.” His photographs have a timeless quality that captures the spirit of the Festival. These images speak to nostalgia and hope, themes explored in the essays throughout the book.

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William J. McGoldrick
Passionate beer maven. Social media advocate. Hipster-friendly music scholar. Thinker. Garnered an industry award while merchandising cannibalism in Gainesville, FL. Have some experience importing human hair in Minneapolis, MN. Won several awards for consulting about race cars in the government sector. Crossed the country developing strategies for clip-on ties in Washington, DC. Spent a weekend implementing Virgin Mary figurines in West Palm Beach, FL. Had moderate success promoting Elvis Presley in Ocean City, NJ.