Old Settler’s Music Festival is nearly upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited! Located in Tilmon, Texas (just 30 minutes outside of Austin), Old Settler’s begins Thursday, April 19, and ends Sunday, April 22. The lineup this year is beyond amazing, with artists of many genres including bluegrass, jazz, blues, and several Austin locals. This festival has become one of my favorites since I was in college, with its laid back atmosphere, friendly crowd, and beautiful setting in the heart of Texas. Past years’ lineups have included incredible artists such as Iron & Wine, Shakey Graves, Dawes, and The Avett Brothers (these all are seriously in my top 10 favorite bands… AH!).
To get everyone excited, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are the top 5 “must-see” bands in this year’s lineup. I have to admit… it’s a bit difficult to limit to just 5, but I tried.
I could talk for hours about this delightful trio, but I’ll save that for later. Comprised of Sara Jarosz (one of my favorite mandolin artists EVER), Sarah Watkins (from the forever-loved Nickel Creek), and Aoife O’Donovan (from bluegrass band Crooked Still), this band is guaranteed to deliver an amazing performance at Old Settler’s this year with their matchless harmonies and breathtaking chemistry. Their recent Tiny Desk Concert made my heart completely jump.
This five-piece progressive bluegrass band features Anders Beck, Michael Arlen Bont, Dave Bruzza, Mike Devol, and Paul Hoffman. I already know this will be the show that’ll really leave my feet sore from all the inevitable dancing that will commence. Just take a listen to their cover of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” and you’ll be hooked yourself.
Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance are coming back home to the Lone Star state for yet another bound-to-be fantastic performance with their folk rock tunes that pair perfectly with a cold beer. Well-known for their song “California,” these two will absolutely be a highlight for many Old Settlers.
This American blues band (featuring Lech Wierzynski, Ben Malament, Johnny Bones, Lorenzo Loera, and Beau Bradbury) is back at Old Settler’s yet another year – it’s no surprise given how amazing their set was last year. With their New Orleans sounding harmonies and unique instruments (picture a jug, gutbucket bass, and washboard), these guys are bound to be a crowd-pleaser.
I saw these folks years ago at the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Ithaca, New York, the city where this folk/country/reggae ensemble was formed. I hadn’t heard of them before, but their upbeat, dance-able tunes blew me away and made me an immediate fan – I don’t think I’ve ever heard another band successfully infuse so many different genre elements. Comprised of Jeb Puryear, Tara Nevins, Dave McCracken, Kyle Spark, and Mark Raudabaugh, Donna the Buffalo is another band I can’t wait to see again this weekend.
Honorable mentions you will want to check out:
If you haven’t already, there’s still time to snag your ticket! Visit here to do so – day passes, 3-day passes, and even camping passes are still available. We hope to see y’all there!Stay tuned for recaps and photo galleries to come! Follow us on Instagram to catch all the shenanigans during the festival.
Leigh is a native Texan gone temporary New Yorker and now proud Austinite. Passions include but are not limited to music (both as a spectator and dabbler), traveling & cultural adventures, film & television, true crime, design (of the fashion, interior, and graphic sorts), and photographing & writing about all the aforementioned. Self-acclaimed coffee connoisseur & wino, cat aficionado, book worm, and nature junkie.