The 15th Annual Austin String Band Festival

October 14-16, 2022

Camp Ben McCulloch, Driftwood, TX

The 15th Annual Austin String Band Festival is the weekend of October 14-16, 2022, at Camp Ben McCulloch in nearby Driftwood, TX. Join us for a weekend of music, camping, jamming, dancing, and friends.

This family-friendly festival brings together musicians and roots music enthusiasts from Central Texas and beyond. In addition to two stages of live string band performances, there'll be dances, workshops, kids' activities, and tons of campsite jamming.

We've got a stellar line-up this year:

RSVP on Facebook to let us know you're coming and help us get the word out!

Admission & Tickets

Tickets will be available on-site at the admissions gate. Cash, cards, and checks will be accepted.

AFTM members get discounted prices and their support really helps us put on this festival and other events. Please consider joining or renewing via our membership site: https://app.joinit.com/o/aftm. You can also check your membership status there using your email address to log in.

  Friday Day Pass Saturday Day Pass Full Weekend Pass
Student* $15 $30 $40
AFTM Member $20 $35 $45
Non-Member $25 $40 $50

 

*Valid Student ID is required

Kids under 16 are free!

Performance Schedule

Friday 10/14

Main Stage

7 PM Funyun Creek
Old Time square dance
caller Sharon Isaac
8 PM Charles Thibodeaux and Austin Cajun Aces
Lively authentic Cajun dance music
9 PM Spencer & Rains
Old Time square dance with old Texas tunes
caller Rich MacMath

Saturday 10/15

Main Stage

2 PM Rosebud
Classic country singing of the '40s, '50s, '60s
3 PM Christy & the Plowboys
Music borrowed from old 78s and fiddlin’ picked up new
4 PM Chansons et Soûlards
French dancehall music of south Louisiana
5 PM NorthFolk (Mira Dickey & Friends)
Scandinavian and Celtic Folk
6 PM Belen Escobedo & Pan Filo’s Güera
Pre-Accordion Fiddle-led Conjunto
7 PM Mayday Mayday
Old Time square dance
caller Rich MacMath & Friends
8 PM The Hillsiders
Hard-driving Bluegrass with old time influence
9 PM

Spencer & Rains
Distinctive fiddling, guitar, & close-knit harmony

10 PM Women of Western Swing
Outstanding traditional Texas dancehall style
11 PM Crazy Square Dance
Come find out what kind of late-night fun this is!

 

Mini-Set Stage

In between the Main Stage performances we'll have mini-stage sets featuring various local performers.

Workshops

The workshop schedule and descriptions will soon be posted. Workshops will be held on Saturday morning and are included with festival admission.

Volunteering

Sign ups coming soon - stay tuned!

Volunteers for PRIME slots will get a full weekend pass. There are limited numbers of prime slots so grab one quickly if you can! Prime slots evening shifts (shifts ending at 8pm or later) that are marked with the word "PRIME" on our sign-up page. Work one Prime slot and get a weekend pass. Camping is extra.

Volunteers for regular slots will get a day pass for a day of their choosing. That is, if you volunteer on Friday, you can use your free day pass on Saturday (but you'll need to pay for Friday if you stay longer than your volunteer time slot -- we appreciate your help keeping the festival affordable for all!). You can volunteer for two regular slots to get passes for both days. Camping is extra.

Camping

There is plenty of primitive tent camping, and a small number of RV sites with hookups.  All camping fees are to be paid upon festival entry, on a first-come-first-served basis. You may pay with cash, check or credit card.

Friday and Saturday camping should be paid at the festival admissions tent. You may arrive earlier than Friday to camp. If you do, please pay Camp Ben directly for the nights before Friday.

Check-out is Noon on Sunday.

Tent site: $20 per night
RV site: $30 per night

Trash & Recycling

Pack-it-in, Pack-it-out. Campers who have recycling at their residence are encouraged to take recyclables home with them; a bag will be furnished for use on site or to take trash home. This helps us greatly - Thanks!

No dogs or other pets

We love dogs, but please leave them at home.

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NO DOGS ALLOWED except service animals. 

No amplified music

Out of courtesy to fellow campers, jammers, and official performers, please no amplified music in the campground.

Food

Some festival goers enjoy cooking all their meals at their camps, but everyone can enjoy great food available from our vendors!

Linda (Texas Street Crepes) will bring her food trailer and serve crepes, omelettes and croissants in the morning and an extensive menu of sweet and savory crepes throughout the day. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options will be available.

Location

Camp Ben McCulloch
18301 FM 1826
Driftwood, Texas 78619
Google Maps Link

Camp Ben McCulloch is within a few minutes of Austin, located 11 miles south of Highway 290 West on Farm Road 1826. From I-35, take Loop 4 to downtown Buda. Head west on Farm Road 967 for 11 miles, then turn left on Farm Road 1826 for 1/2 mile -- Camp Ben McCulloch is on the left.

Camp Ben McCulloch’s grounds are lovely, with plenty of big old shade trees, a gurgling creek and room for camping and jamming. Some of the best music is off-stage in sessions lasting till the wee hours. There is also a very nice, shady playground close to the pavilion.

Festival Map

 

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Click to view larger image

Lettered spots are approximate workshop areas, subject to change depending on conditions at the grounds.

Festival Poster

This year's poster was designed and illustrated by Howard Rains of Spencer & Rains. It features Teodar and T.J. Jackson. Teodar's fiddle playing has had a strong influence in central Texas. 

Teodar Jackson (1903-1966) was an old-time fiddler with deep roots in Texas. He was born in Gonzales County where his family had farmed since his grandfather emigrated from Mississippi sometime after 1850. African Americans numbered roughly a third of the county's population in the 1880s. Communities like Wesley Chapel, Monthalia and Canoe Creek were small rural sanctuaries where many musicians came of age to the sound of old-time fiddling at dances and country suppers. By the 1940s the family had moved north to the Austin area, settling in the St. John's community where Mr. Jackson remained a fiddler for many years eventually becoming known among young white music enthusiasts in the 1960s as ‘T-olee’, but always known to family as ‘Papa-T’. Familiar square-dance tunes, blues and rags made up a large part of his repertoire, but in addition he played a number of set-pieces, dance tunes that hint at something perhaps much, much older, otherwise lost to our ears, until his playing was recorded by Tary Owens in Austin, 1965.

Coming out of retirement in 1965, Mr. Jackson was embraced by the young crowd at the heart of the nascent Austin music scene in the mid-1960s.  Like his friend the Navasota songster Mance Lipscomb, he was idolized, playing for many rapt, if largely white, audiences in venues like the Id Coffee House and The Eleventh Door. He and his son, TJ, were featured at the 1965 KHFI-FM Summer Music Festival in Zilker Park. According to Jim Langdon's Nightbeat column in Austin American Statesman in 1966, Mr. Jackson was expected to be featured in the upcoming Newport Folk Festival up in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, a heart attack would intervene and send him off for a stay in the hospital instead. But for that lamentable setback, Teodar Jackson might now be as well-known and remembered among folk music fans today as Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, or Bukka White

Mr. Jackson's condition began to worsen and on March 12, 1966 the community came together for a benefit concert. The event was well publicized and reportedly a resounding success featuring Janis Joplin, John Clay, the 13th Floor Elevators, Bill Neeley, Kenneth Threadgill, Powell St John and others. Unfortunately his condition failed to improve and Teodar Jackson passed away on May 2nd 1966. Mr. Jackson is buried next to his wife, Ora Lee Jackson, in the historic Burditt Prairie Cemetery just south of the Colorado River in Austin, Texas.

You can listen to and purchase the Field Recorders' Collective album of Teodar and T.J. Jackson's music on Bandcamp (Old Time Herald review) and read more at https://fieldrecorder.org/teodar-jackson-texas-fiddler/.

A Few Reminders

The string band festival is a family friendly event. If you are planning to come to the festival please note the following:

  • NO DOGS ALLOWED (except service dogs).
  • BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR FOR THE WORKSHOPS, FOR JAMMING, OR FOR EXTRA COMFORT.
  • BRING YOUR OWN COOLER AND ICE.
  • NO GLASS BOTTLES. CANS ONLY.
  • NO FIREWORKS OR WEAPONS.
  • NO AMPLIFIED MUSIC.
  • BRING CASH AND CREDIT CARDS FOR TICKETS, CAMPING FEES, FOOD, and MERCH.

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Sponsors

Thanks to our generous sponsors for helping keep the Austin String Band Festival affordable and fun! We really appreciate it!

Austin Hearing Aid Center

Fiddler's Green Music Shop

RK Audiology

Westbank String Shop

Ellis Mandolins

Mollberg Piano Restoration

Shomos Foundation