Old Settler's 2000 Music Festival
by Paul Johnston

WOW! Just when you thought, "How could the Old Settler's Music Festival get any better?", the dedicated faithful Volunteers of the Old Settler's Bluegrass Festival, Inc., the City of Dripping Springs and the generous Festival sponsors just out did themselves again this year as the thirteenth Old Settler's Music Festival roars into the new millennium year 2000!

This year's event was held at its new home, Stone Mountain Event Center, just 3 miles west of the Ranch Road 12 /Highway 290 intersection in Dripping Springs on Highway 290. Stone Mountain was a former Boy Scout camp. Stone Mountain has plenty of parking, camping close to the stage areas and a large covered pavilion for the food and drink vendors. This covered pavilion could be used as an emergency rain venue for the music events if required. There is plenty of land for one to roam around on, yet all staged musical events, vendor areas and restroom facilities (Port-O-Lets) are well organized. It is hard to imagine anyone attending this event not having a great family experience.

Hill Country Stage

A profound musical event like this just does not happen by pure luck or chance. Many hours of work as "a true labor of love- straight from the heart" came from the many volunteers who were part of this production. These dedicated volunteers under the supervision of Randy Collier and his festival committee had their work cut out for them this year in organizing the Festival at a new location. New sites were scouted out before Stone Mountain in Dripping Springs was eventually selected. Stone Mountain is a rural and beautiful drive/destination located in the heart of the arts and festival hill country area of central Texas.

Randy Collier - Head Volunteer Wrangler!

Once the new site was nailed down, first class musical artists had to be procured, sponsorships lined up, artists and vendors solicited, promotional strategies developed, and then do whatever to pull the whole thing off. An "A+" grade would have to be given to the whole Old Settler's crew. A nice finishing touch to all these efforts was reflected in the professional program booklet produced by the Festival Committee. An hour by hour musical artist line up was listed for the two main performing stages, the Hill Country and Bluebonnet stage, and a schedule was presented for the Discovery stage where music workshops and entertainment for the kids were held. A brief music biography of each artist or group was also included. An Open Mike Stage was available for the up and coming aspiring musicians and singers. Sponsorship advertising was nicely presented in the program and a nice grounds plan map for the Stone Mountain Event Center was shown on the last page. Armed with a well written program, the Old Settler's patron was well equipped for a weekend of musical bliss.

World Famous Zemer's Root Beer

More world class musical talent was at one location at the Old Settler's Music Festival than anywhere in the state of Texas for the weekend of April 7-9, 2000. There was more musical talent than you could shake a stick at! Bluegrass music is the central theme to the festival with a bountiful addition of jazz, acoustic, gospel, Celtic, folk, country, western swing, blues and psychedelic music to suit near everyone's musical taste.

Future Man!

Here is a listing of the wonderful musical talent that performed at this years Old Settler's Music Festival:

Willis Alan Ramsey    
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones   Peter Rowan and Special Guest Tony Rice    
Leftover Salmon w/special guest John Cowan    Sara Hickman     
Claire Lynch & the Front Porch String Band        Jim Lauderdale
Fred Eaglesmith       Forlini and Cross       Lonestar Bluegrass Band
Jim Hurst & Missy Raines       Karl Shiflett & the Big Country Show
Smokin. Grass       Hillbilly Boogiemen       Two High String Band
Kim Miller  One Riot One Ranger  Karen Abrahams & Reckless Abandon
South Austin Soul Sisters (S.A.S.S.)    Shelley King Band    
Quick Drawl     Sarah Elizabeth Campbell   Moonlighters        
South Austin Gospel Choir   Flounders Without Eyes     
Floramay Holliday                Slaid Cleaves
The Good News Band  Two O'Clock Courage
Blackland Prairie Boys Bluegrass Driveby

Peter Rowan


Bela Fleck

Because the line up of music talent was so numerous, it would be hard for one person to see it all. However, because there was such a large diversified line-up, one could easily find something to suit ones musical taste. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones were sensational. Bela has expanded the art of banjo playing to a new level that has to be heard to believed. Yes, he can play a bluegrass banjo, but his banjo can play jazz, pop, and classical music too. The Flecktones' saxophone man, Jeff Coffin, can play two saxophones at once! Forlini & Cross play some mean blues. Want to hear a one-microphone traditions bluegrass show like it was done in the early days? Well, Karl Shifflett & The Big Country Show did the trick. Karl Shifflett will take you back to the traditional days of bluegrass music. John Cowan and Leftover Salmon put forth, as it has been described a "Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass" show stopper. John can belt out the blues as well as any man!

Sarah Elizabeth Campbell is a very talented tunesmith. Her performance reflects her thoughtful, soulful, talented writing. It was a real pleasure to hear her intimate late night performance at the Bluebonnet Stage. What a nice way to end a night under the starry big Texas Hill Country Sky!

Sarah Elizabeth Campbell

If you have every wanted "to pull the devil by the tail," Peter Rowan is the man to convince you to do it. Peter had the enthusiastic crowd dancing under the Texas stars. Austin's legendary singer-songwriter, Willis Alan Ramsey, was convinced to recreate his seventies influential folk style music for the festival. His "Muskrat Love" song ended his wonderful musical set. Who would have thought Holland would have produce a high powered honky tonk bluegrass group, but, it did, the Hillbilly Boogiemen. The Boogiemen poured their high energy music into one of the last music sets of the Festival. The crowd was dancing and screaming for more!

Let's Dance !  We're Having Such  A Good Time!

Can the Old Settler's Volunteers out do themselves next year? They have set a very high standard for their music festival. I'll place my bet that they will!

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Copyright - 2000 - Paul Johnston

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