Old Settler’s Music Festival
Tilmon, TX, April 11–14
by Holly Cowart
Founded in 1987, the Old Settler’s Music Festival is a four-day music experience. The gathering began as a bluegrass celebration created by the city of Round Rock, and while locations have changed, the fest found a permanent home last year after purchasing 145 acres of land in the small town of Tilmon (roughly a 45-minute drive from Austin).
If the Grammy-packed artist lineup is any indication, the annual shindig is stronger than ever. Acclaimed alt-country musicians Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will be headlining, followed by Brandi Carlile and the Del McCoury Band. You’ll also catch a solid roundup of rising homegrown artists such as Hayes Carll, Wild Child, Black Pumas, Paul Cauthen, Robert Ellis — this showcase is stacked.
Thankfully, the performances remain up close and personal. “It’s not a big mega-festival,” says longtime director Jean Spivey. “It’s community-bred, with attendees that really care.” In fact, the tradition functions solely with the help of volunteers, who run everything from artist housing to catering. Whether you’re from here, new to town or just passing through, get an inside look at Americana culture with the artists and loyal fans who are keeping it alive and well.