Old Settler’s music and spirit shines through, in all kinds of weather

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You want variety of music AND weather? The Old Settler’s Music Festival had it covered on Saturday. Blues to bluegrass to country to classical to gospel to folk to rockabilly: Check. Cloudy to light rain to heavy rain to rainbow to sunset to starshine to dense fog? Check.

Storms were in the forecast for much of Central Texas, and they arrived in full at Old Settler’s around 5 p.m., after on-and-off sprinkles throughout the afternoon. The music officially came to a halt at about 5:30 p.m. when the rains grew steady and moderately heavy, though thunderstorms thankfully steered away from the area.

But just like that, the skies began to clear. The sun started peeking through in the west, a faint rainbow briefly appeared in the east, and the Caldwell County raindrops gave way to the California Honeydrops. That was the name of the eclectic, soulful band whose set on the main stage was briefly delayed, but when they took the stage just before 6 p.m., there were broad smiles and sweet sounds all around.

The sun sets as JD McPherson plays on the main stage at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

Such is the resilience of the Old Settler’s spirit. The fest’s new grounds — a move to Tilmon, just southeast of Lockhart, followed 16 years in Driftwood — presented modest challenges with the weather, as water collected at a low point in the gravel road en route to the stage area. But vehicles were still able to pass, and grassy parking areas appeared to avoid stuck-in-the-mud dilemmas. This location has a lot of wide-open space, and that allows options to avoid obvious trouble spots.

Musically, the Honeydrops were a midpoint highlight on the heels of an afternoon that got off to a great start. Billy Strings, who impressed mightily on Friday night, returned for a 1:30 p.m. set on the Bluebonnet Stage. I missed that, but arrived just in time to catch Houston’s Sarah Grace & the Soul, winners of the morning’s Youth Talent Competition, pay tribute to Prince with a rendition of “Purple Rain” on the second anniversary of his passing.

Over on the main stage, country-folk troubadour Colter Wall served up hard twang and tales from his upbringing on the Canadian Great Plains. Just 22, Wall sounds like he’s going on 66, possessing a rich and resonant voice that makes his music feel more raw and real than just about any current mainstream country performer. With Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton having become major draws in recent years, the future may be bright for Wall.

Colter Wall and band at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

Back at the Bluebonnet Stage, a whole different breed of young talent awaited. Darlingside, a quartet from Boston, delighted a crowd that might not have expected to hear such a sophisticated take on roots music. Playing a variety of instruments that went beyond guitar, banjo and fiddle to include cello and what appeared to be a lute-shaped mandolin, they joined voices in radiant harmony around a single microphone at the center of the stage. When light rain started falling near the end of their set, the band gracefully noted that they understood if folks needed to leave, while expressing extra appreciation for those who stayed.

The rains gradually increased over the next hour, a sad development mainly because one of the day’s most lively acts, Michigan powerhouse soul-gospel outfit The War and Treaty, was next up on the Bluebonnet Stage. Led by husband-wife singers Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter, the five-piece band bravely blasted on through the weather, and at least a couple hundred audience members were moved enough by what they heard to stick around for much of the set. On an ideal day, these folks could give a fest-making performance.

The War and Treaty at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

After the rain delay and the California Honeydrops’ re-emergence, the skies magically became quite clear. That helped make sets by North Carolina bluegrass band Balsam Range and roots-rockabilly raver JD McPherson all the more enjoyable. Basking in floating bubbles near the children’s area on the Bluebonnet Stage, Balsam Range played an engaging mix of original covers, including John Denver’s “Matthew” and Austin songwriter Walt Wilkins’ “Trains I Missed.” On the main stage, McPherson and his band got the crowd rockin’ just as the sun set over the campground trees.

JD McPherson and band at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

After dark on the Bluebonnet Stage featured back-to-back slots by rootsy acts loosely tied to the Texas roadhouse circuit. Songwriter Will Hoge lives in Nashville but has developed strong ties here from frequent touring, and he’s honed his stage show into a sharp and lively presentation ranging from power-pop to country-folk anthems. Less effective was Waco’s Wade Bowen, who was dealt a tough hand by recent vocal problems but soldiered on as the clear skies suddenly became shrouded in fog.

Bowen also had the tough task of going up against I’m With Her, the one act that seemingly everybody at Old Settler’s was there to hear. Wimberley-raised Sarah Jarosz, who now lives in New York, is pretty much the face of this festival, having won its inaugural Youth Talent Competition in 2002 as a pre-teen. She’s returned all but two years since, and this time she brought along an all-star team: Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek) and Aoife O’Donovan (from Crooked Still) joined Jarosz for the trio album “See You Around,” released earlier this year.

I’m With Her, featuring (l-r) Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

They played most of the material on that album, spicing things up with a couple of surprises: Jim Croce’s “Walkin’ Back to Georgia” and Adele’s “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).” Near the end of the set, Jarosz gave the festival’s Caldwell County rebirth her blessing. “Even in this new location, it still has the same great vibe, I think,” she said. “You’re true music fans; I always feel that.”

READ MORE: Our 2017 interview with Sarah Jarosz

The moon rises over Will Hoge and band on the Bluebonnet Stage at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

Grand music, and big bubbles, drift on the air as Old Settler’s welcomes new digs

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The first big day of Old Settler’s Music Festival at its new site near Lockhart promised lots of good music from the likes of Calexico, Billy Strings, Jamestown Revival, Donna the Buffalo and many more. Under a welcome layer of clouds with mid-60s temperatures and a cool breeze, it delivered all that. Plus, bubbles.

Kids chase after bubbles at the Old Settler’s Music Festival on Friday, April 20, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

The fest, now held in the rural community of Tilmon about 20 minutes southeast of Lockhart, officially kicked off Thursday evening with a concert on the campground stage, as hundreds of weekend-long festgoers already had set up tents and RVs across the spacious new site’s four camping areas. But Friday was the first opportunity to hear music on the main Original Black’s BBQ Stage and the adjacent, smaller Bluebonnet Stage.

Also of note at the Bluebonnet Stage was a bubble-making expert who periodically unleashed torrents of bubbles across the field. This was sheer ecstasy for the younger attendees in the crowd, who chased them down with laughter and broad smiles.

Teenage country singer Frankie Leonie, winner of last year’s OSMF Youth Talent Competition during its final year in Driftwood, got the honor of christening the big stage and delivered magnificently. She played her own songs, including one beautiful number recently recorded with Dallas group the Texas Gentlemen, alongside tasteful covers of tunes by Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings and Nikki Lane. Leonie set the tone for a full afternoon and evening of music that never disappointed and frequently exceeded expectations.

Instrumental fans got some great extended excursions from the Jeff Austin Band and Ireland’s We Banjo 3, “the oddly named quartet” as they put it: Their lineup includes mandolin, banjo, fiddle and acoustic guitar. Featuring two sets of brothers, the group joked about the cool weather: “You see we brought the lovely Irish summer with us. This is the warmest day in the history of Ireland.”

Sundown found Austin’s own Jamestown Revival holding forth on the main stage, mixing old favorites from their pop-leaning indie-Americana records with not-yet-released material. “It’s good to be playing at home; got the family out,” said Jonathan Clay as he and Zach Chance brought their voices together in harmony on a new tune titled “Operator.”

Zack Chance, left, and Jonathan Clay of Jamestown Revival at Old Settler’s Music Festival on Friday, April 20, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

The best acts went on just after dark. Skies cleared briefly, revealing a sweet spread of in-the-country stars and a quarter-moon that hung over the stage as Arizona’s magnificent Calexico began an hourlong set. Grown from the bare-bones duo of singer-guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino, the group is now seven strong and features members from Germany and Spain, though their music gets its greatest influence from the Mexican border. Trumpets and accordions spice up the mix of their sound that’s sometimes border dance music, sometimes indie guitar rock, but always enchanting.

Calexico at the Old Settler’s Music Festival on Friday, April 20, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

Around the corner on the Bluebonnet Stage, teenage upstart Billy Strings led a four-piece band featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo and upright bass. All of them just oozed with talent and vibrant style; they played their instruments with a live-wire fervor, perhaps picking up some youthful punk-rock energy but sounding nothing at all like punk in the process. Rather, they simply sounded full of life and passion, and Strings’ tenor voice was strong enough to echo the great Tim O’Brien when the band covered Bob Dylan’s “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power).”

Still to come for those staying till midnight were jam-band Greensky Bluegrass and Austin’s soulful Tomar & the FCs, plus a wee-hours session on the new “Camp Shhhtimes” mini-stage with another Billy Strings performance and a couple of talented locals. Saturday’s forecast calls for rain, but that didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of organizers and attendees, who noted they’d been through many rainy Old Settler’s days before.

The Saturday lineup offers Sarah Jarosz’s new trio I’m With Her (featuring Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan), California Honeydrops, Darlingside, the War and Treaty, Bob Schneider and many more. Sunday afternoon’s finale on the Campground Stage includes Ray Wylie Hubbard, Steve Poltz and others.

READ MORE: Our full preview of the 2018 Old Settler’s Music Festival

Sunset at the Old Settler’s Music Festival on Friday, April 20, 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

Sarah Jarosz’ bluegrass supergroup I’m With Her plays NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

I’m With Her is a new indie folk supergroup that combines the talents of  Wimberley native Sarah Jarosz, Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins  and Aoife O’Donovan of Crooked Still.

They stopped by National Public Radio’s headquarters to record a Tiny Desk Concert recently.  It was thoroughly lovely.

RELATED: What does Old Settler’s Festival’s new site look like?  

If you like what you hear, the group will be in Central Texas next month for Old Settler’s Festival, which moves to a new remote countryside location southeast of Lockhart. More info.

Courtesy of the Billions Corporation.

What does the new Old Settler’s Fest site look like? We get an early look

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Sunday afternoon’s open house to show off the new grounds of the Old Settler’s Music Festival came with a “rain or shine” designation. Given this month’s weather in Central Texas, there was no surprise it turned out to be the former. Still, hundreds came out to the remote countryside location southeast of Lockhart to see what’s in store for the 31st Old Settler’s Fest in mid-April.

PHOTOS: Old Settler’s Music Festival’s new home

After a 16-year run in Driftwood southwest of Austin, the festival announced plans to relocate amid controversy with a potential Driftwood competitor. That was resolved last month in an out-of-court settlement, with the Driftwood fest shelving its plans for a simultaneous fest at the previous site.

Jay Milton, left, and Michael Thomas use a map as they explore a new location of the Old Settlers Music Festival during an open house event outside of Lockhart on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Meanwhile, Old Settler’s staff and volunteers have been working overtime to get the new digs ready. On Sunday, the public got the first look at the grounds, which board member Gary Hartman told the crowd is 2.5 times as large as the previous Salt Lick Pavilion/Camp Ben McCulloch site in Driftwood.

VIDEO: Quick summary of Sunday’s Old Settler’s open house

Most of the open house action took place near the roadside front of the property, where attendees gathered at a covered open-air bandstand area for live music from Shinyribs’ Kevin Russell, Jeff Plankenhorn, Carolyn Wonderland and American Dreamer. A squall passed through right around the 2 p.m. start-time; the rest of the afternoon was marked mostly by gray but dry skies with occasional light drizzle.

Next to an adjacent small house, tents were set up to serve homemade snacks, hot dogs and beverages. More adventurous and curious attendees walked a quarter-mile or more down the hardpack-caliche road, turned muddy from the rain, and wandered wide-open fields where signs showed the future locations of stages, campgrounds, vendor areas and the like.

American Dreamer preforms during an open house event for a new location of the Old Settlers Music Festival on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Between music performances, Hartman talked about the challenges ahead and encouraged fest fans to volunteer in helping to get the grounds ready in time for the April 19-22 festival. This year’s top draws include Jamestown Revival, Calexico, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, the California Honeydrops, Colter Wall, and the all-star acoustic women trio I’m With Her (featuring Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan).

READ MORE: Old Settler’s Fest adds acts, releases partial day-by-day schedule

Hartman also noted that Old Settler’s plans to expand gradually in future years at its new site. The additional space certainly accommodates the possibility for growth; it would easily be feasible for the festival to add another stage if future demand supports that.

Maps at the Old Setter’s Music Fest open house on Sunday, Feb, 25, showed where stages and campgrounds will be for the mid-April festival at its new site. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

A down side for Austinites is that it’s a significantly farther drive. From my residence in south-central Austin, I logged 43 miles one-way, taking 51 minutes. (That compares to about 20 miles in just under 30 minutes to the previous Driftwood site.) Situated about 20 minutes southeast of Lockhart at 1616 FM 3158, the Caldwell County location is within a half-hour of communities such as Bastrop and Gonzales. But it’s essentially no closer than Driftwood was to population centers such as San Antonio, San Marcos New Braunfels.

Old Settler’s has partnered with FestDrive to provide limited shuttle service. In Austin, they’ll depart from the downtown Whole Foods at 2:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, noon Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday (returning 30 minutes after the final act each day). Round-trip shuttle tickets are $40 each day (or $20 one-way).

Parking in open grass fields on Sunday appeared to cause no stuck-in-mud issues despite the wet conditions. Those driving should prepare for possible traffic jams on the way in, as the roads leading to the fest are small and there’s only one entrance to the grounds.

RELATED: As Old Settler’s hits 30, younger artists remain key to its future

Old Settler’s settles suit with Driftwood Fest out of court

The Travelin’ McCourys will play this year’s Old Settler’s Music Festival at a new location near Lockhart. Scott Moore for American-Statesman

A lawsuit between Old Settler’s Music Festival and the nascent Driftwood Music Festival filed in October has been settled out of court, Old Settler’s announced in a newsletter to festgoers on Monday.

“Through mediation, we’re pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement where DMF will not hold their festival in March, April or May for the next five years,” the announcement reads.

RELATED: Initial report on Old Settler’s vs. Driftwood lawsuit

The Driftwood Music Festival, formed by two former Old Settler’s staff members, had planned to hold its initial festival at the former Old Settler’s site in Driftwood southwest of Austin on the same April 19-22 dates as OSMF’s upcoming event at a new site near Lockhart. An injunction issued in Travis County District Court in late November disallowed DMF from holding its festival on those dates.

A passage on the Driftwood festival’s website states, in part, that “festival co-founders Ryan Brittain and Scott Marshall are now considering other dates for the event, although the location will remain the same, the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch. At this time, no date has been selected and Driftwood Music Festival is on hold until further notice.”

Acts scheduled to perform at Old Settler’s include the Travelin’ McCourys, Calexico, Colter Wall, Greensky Bluegrass and the trio I’m With Her (featuring Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan), along with local performers including Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bob Schneider and the Peterson Brothers. Additional acts are expected to be announced.

RELATED: Old Settler’s adds acts, releases partial day-by-day schedule

OSMF’s new location is in Tilmon, just southeast of Lockhart. A Google Maps route from downtown Austin to Tilmon is about 45 miles and around an hour of drive time. The newsletter announcement also included information about shuttle-service plans: “In an effort to lessen traffic issues for Caldwell County residents and Old Settler’s patrons, and to lessen festival-related carbon consumption, Old Settler’s has partnered with FestDrive to offer shuttle service from Austin and San Antonio for $20 each way, and from Houston for $28 each way.” Shuttle tickets can be purchased via the FestDrive website.


	

Old Settler’s Fest adds acts, releases partial day-by-day schedule

The War & Treaty will perform at the Old Settler’s Music Festival in April 2018. Peter Blackstock/American-Statesman

More details are taking shape for the Old Settler’s Music Festival, which moves to a new home near Lockhart in April 2018. New additions to the lineup include J.D. McPherson, Will Hoge, California Honeydrops and the War & Treaty, and a partial day-by-day lineup has been set.

The announcements follow a turbulent stretch marked by a split between Old Settler’s board members and two former colleagues who had sought to launch a competing event the same weekend at the fest’s previous site. A judge issued an injunction against the Driftwood Music Festival in November, at least temporarily quelling the conflict.

Tickets, ranging from $35 to $75 for single-day passes and $130 to $500 for weekend-long packages, are on sale now via the festival’s website.

Here’s the lineup as it stands so far:

Thursday
Grateful Ball featuring Travelin’ McCourys & Jeff Austin Band
Donna the Buffalo
We Banjo 3
Deer

Friday
Greensky Bluegrass
Calexico
Balsam Range
Donna the Buffalo
Billy Strings
Jeff Austin Band
Front Country
Sophie Scott (2017 Youth Talent Competition winner)

Saturday
I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan)
Railroad Earth
J.D. McPherson
California Honeydrops
Will Hoge
Colter Wall
Darlingside
Steve Poltz
War & Treaty
Billy Strings
Balsam Range
Peterson Brothers
Jon Stickley Trio

Sunday
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Balsam Range
Steve Poltz
Galeano

Driftwood Music Fest calls off plans for April festival after injunction

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Faced with an injunction order that temporarily halted its ability to book performers or sell tickets, the Driftwood Music Festival announced Monday that it is no longer pursuing its plans for a festival at the Salt Lick Pavilion on April 19-22, 2018.

“Festival cofounders Ryan Brittain and Scott Marshall have no choice but to now search for another date for this event, although the location will remain the same,” a statement from the festival reads. “At this time, no date has been selected and Driftwood Music Festival is now on hold until further notice.”

The statement follows news that the Old Settler’s Music Festival which filed a lawsuit against the Driftwood Music Festival in mid-October, were granted an injunction that was filed Nov. 14 in Travis County District Court. The injunction states, in part, that “the Court finds and concludes that Old Settler’s Music Festival will probably prevail on the trial of this cause.”

Old Settler’s Music Festival is moving from Driftwood to a new site near Lockhart next year. Scott Moore for American-Statesman

The injunction covers several actions. The most significant orders temporarily prohibit Driftwood from selling tickets and booking performers. Other actions covered include “implying that Driftwood Music Festival, LLC, is a continuation of a prior music festival” and “using Old Settler’s Music Festival’s confidential information and trade secrets, including but not limited to any lists or identities of volunteers or paid workers”. Both of those actions, among others, were alleged in the suit Old Settler’s filed on Oct. 17.

READ MORE: Old Settler’s Music Fest files suit against new Driftwood Music Fest

The injunction states that “unless Defendants are restrained from committing any of these acts, Old Settler’s Music Festival will suffer irreparable harm for which there is no remedy available at law.”

Old Settler’s was required to file a $50,000 bond with the county clerk for the injunction to take effect. That bond will revert to Old Settler’s if Old Settler’s wins the lawsuit or if the case gets settled out of court, Old Settler’s festival director Jean Spivey said Monday. She also noted via email that the Driftwood Music Festival principals “have already sent us a settlement offer and we are countering this week.”

The conflict between the two festivals arose over the summer after the long-running Old Settler’s Music Festival announced in August that it would be moving to a new location near Lockhart next year. In September, a website appeared for a new Driftwood Music Festival, planned for the same April 19-22, 2018, dates as Old Settler’s. Scott Marshall and Ryan Brittain, two longtime fixtures in producing the Old Settler’s Fest, had filed state paperwork creating Driftwood Music Festival, L.L.C., on July 11.

A footnote to the injunction also noted that Old Settler’s “has added a Defendant, SJG Corp, to this lawsuit” but that the injunction addresses original defendants Marshall, Brittain and the Driftwood Music Festival. SJG Corporation is a food service company that operates Salt Lick Barbecue, which owns the Salt Lick Pavilion grounds where Old Settler’s had been held for more than a decade. The Driftwood Music Festival’s plan has been to hold its festival there in the future.

Old Settler’s announced the first batch of performers for its 2018 festival late last month. Another announcement of more acts may be forthcoming in a week or so, Spivey said Monday.

 

Old Settler’s Music Fest 2018 to feature Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, more

Roots music fave Old Settler’s Music Festival, has announced the first round of artists for their 2018 event. The fest will move to Tilmon, just outside Lockhart next year, and is scheduled for April 19-22, 2018.

Greensky Bluegrass will play OSMF in 2018. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

OSMF will kick of Thursday night with a Grateful Ball,“a deadicated celebration” of the Grateful Dead’s music, featuring Travelin’ McCourys and Jeff Austin Band.

RELATED: Old Settler’s Music Festival files suit against new Driftwood Music Fest

Jeff Austin Band will also play a weekend set alongside Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth and Donna the Buffalo. I’m With Her (the trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan), Balsam Range, We Banjo 3, Steve Poltz, Colter Wall, Calexico and Wimberley’s Ray Wylie Hubbard will also perform.

Sarah Jarosz will return to the OSMF with the trio I’m With Her. 2014 Tammy Perez/for American-Statesman

Austin artists on the lineup include psych-folk band The Deer, Grupo Fantasma player José Galeano’s side project, Galeano and Blues standouts the the Peterson Brothers.

Festival executive director Jean Spivey says the fest’s new site, a 145-acre tract of land with ample campground space will provide “an intimate, but more breathable atmosphere.” In addition to three stages of entertainment, the fest will feature kid-friendly attractions, an artists’ market, performance workshops and the youth competition, along with new additions like a variety of food trucks.

On Wednesday, the fest will release the first round of discounted “All-Aboard” tickets with camping and non-camping options, at prices they say are “rolled back to pre-2014 levels.” The fest has also added a new rate for teens. More info. 

 

 

New Driftwood Music Festival plans direct competition with Old Settler’s Fest in 2018

A screengrab of the website for the new Driftwood Music Festival, as it appeared on the internet on Tuesday.

News last month that the long-running Old Settler’s Music Festival would move from Driftwood to the Lockhart area in 2018 got a new wrinkle on Tuesday when a website announcing a new Driftwood Music Festival was launched.

The new fest plans to use the same Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch property where Old Settler’s was held for the past 16 years, and is scheduled for the same 2018 window of April 19-22 as the first Old Settler’s event in Dale just outside Lockhart.

The Driftwood Music Festival announcement comes less than a month after Salt Lick Pavilion owner Scott Roberts informed Old Settler’s staff that the property would not host the 2018 festival. Old Settler’s then accelerated its plans to move to the Dale site for 2018, ahead of the original 2019 plan.

READ MORE: Old Settler’s Fest moving to new location near Lockhart in 2018

Old Settler’s festival director Jean Spivey said Tuesday that when the announcement of the move to the new site was made on Aug. 10, she was not aware the Salt Lick Pavilion had plans in the works for another festival. Spivey said she learned of it shortly thereafter from volunteers who’d been contacted by the new festival. She said she also began to hear from artists’ agents that another festival might be in the works.

Spivey said subsequent research showed that two internet domain names for a Driftwood Music Festival were registered in early April and late July. Records from the Texas Secretary of State’s office show that Ryan Brittain and Scott Marshall filed to form Driftwood Music Festival, L.L.C., on July 11.

Marshall had been the Old Settler’s director of operations. Spivey claims that the new festival’s incorporation paperwork was filed “well before Scott Marshall gave us his resignation.” She added that Marshall had a two-year contract with Old Settler’s that ran through the 2018 festival.

Asked if legal issues might arise from the split, Spivey said, “Possibly.”

The Driftwood Music Festival website listed no specifics in regard to performers or ticket prices. A “2018 lineup” link stated that names of artists would be “coming soon,” along with photos of local performers Leeann Atherton (with the late Slim Richey) and Grace London. Update: Reached on Wednesday, both Atherton and London said they’d not been contacted by anyone with Driftwood Music Festival.

The website’s main page featured photos from past Old Settler’s festivals. “They didn’t use any of our photos with our permission,” Spivey said. (One picture, from the 2016 festival, was taken by American-Statesman freelancer Erika Rich. It appeared Tuesday that permission had not been granted by either the Statesman or the photographer.)

Spivey said she already has “a handful” of artists confirmed for Old Settler’s in Dale, with the booking process generally continuing until the end of the year or into January. “There’s one big one, and then there’s probably another 10 to 15 offers out” so far, she said.

Reached by text while in-flight on the east coast Tuesday, Austin musician Kevin Russell suggested that his band Shinyribs, a fixture at Old Settler’s in recent years, might not play either festival in 2018.

“We are booked at Merlefest (in North Carolina) the following Thursday so we expect to be touring in the South at that time anyway,” he noted. “It is fortuitous that I am in a position to bow out of both. Or maybe I’ll play Eeyore’s Birthday instead,” he added, referring to a traditional spring bash in Pease Park.

Russell confirmed that both festivals have extended offers to Shinyribs. “Jean Spivey and Scott Marshall are both people I consider friends,” he stated. “So it is rather disappointing and frustrating.”

Driftwood Music Festival has made no public announcements yet beyond the details on its website, but Austin-based public relations firm Giant Noise confirmed on Tuesday that it has signed the festival as a client. A representative from Giant Noise indicated the new festival would release more details this week. Driftwood Music Festival partner Brittain did not respond to an email on Tuesday requesting comment.

Meanwhile, Spivey said she’s continuing to focus on Old Settler’s move to its Dale location. She noted the festival has lined up a construction company, a construction manager and a landscape architect for the new property, which has more than double the acreage of the previous site.

“We’re looking forward to being in our new space. There’s a lot of breathing room out there,” she said. “I think it’s going to be very nice, and they really seem to be welcoming us in Caldwell County.”

She’s clearly not pleased with the conflict, though. “Of all the weekends they could have picked,” she said, “this is just not something we would ever have done. It’s just not the Old Settler’s vibe.”

RELATED: Past news and reviews of Old Settler’s Music Festivals

Old Settler’s fest moving to new location near Lockhart in 2018

Old Settler’s Music Festival is moving from Driftwood to a new site near Lockhart next year. Scott Moore for American-Statesman

After 16 years at the Salt Lick Pavilion in Driftwood just southwest of Austin, the Old Settler’s Music Festival will move to a new home in the Lockhart area southeast of town in 2018, festival director Jean Spivey confirmed Thursday.

The festival purchased a 145-acre property in Dale, just northeast of Lockhart, in June. The plan was to move Old Settler’s there in 2019, but festival executives were surprised to receive a letter on Tuesday from Salt Lick Pavilion owner Scott Roberts “informing the board that the property would not host the festival in 2018,” according to a press release the festival issued Thursday afternoon.

“This kind of came as a shock,” Spivey said. “We were hoping to have a full year to build it out and develop it before we moved. We had every reason to believe we would be at Salt Lick in 2018.”

According to the press release, the Salt Lick had verbally confirmed the April 19-22, 2018, dates two months ago. The statement noted that Roberts’ letter of Aug. 8 cited “the changing use of the surrounding property and concern about alienating his new neighbors” as the reason for his decision.

Though the accelerated timeline presents some major challenges for Old Settler’s in getting its new property ready by next spring, the upside is a much larger location. Spivey says the fest had about 65 acres available for the festival, parking and camping at the Salt Lick Pavilion and the nearby Camp Ben McCulloch grounds. The new spot, on land that includes rolling hills and wooded areas, more than doubles that space.

“It’s plenty of room to spread out,” she said, though she added that she doesn’t expect Old Settler’s to scale up overall, at least not next year. “I imagine we will be very similar to what we were, just with a little more breathing room.”

Immediate advantages will include on-site parking, which will eliminate logistical issues with satellite parking in Driftwood, and more room for food vendors. Festival stage-flow also may benefit from a unified space. Previously, Thursday and Sunday programming was limited to a smaller stage at Camp Ben McCullough, just down the road and across the street from the main Pavilion grounds.

Like the indie-rock Sound on Sound Festival, which made its debut in McDade northeast of Austin last year, Old Settler’s is pushing more toward the edges of the Austin area with this move. Dale is about 15 miles farther from downtown Austin than Driftwood, though the Highway 130 toll road cuts down on travel time. Spivey said the festival may consider shuttle transportation options from Austin.

The festival, which began in 1987 at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock, moved to Driftwood in 2002. Though the location proved to be a good fit for more than a decade, minor problems arose last year when the Pavilion disallowed use of a field alongside Onion Creek that had previously housed the festival’s Bluebonnet Stage. Another area was cleared for an adjacent stage, but it was smaller and less picturesque.

Discussing the festival’s future prior to the 2017 festival, Spivey noted of the Pavilion grounds that “there’s a lot of upside to being there. And then on the other side, we’re kind of busting at the seams. We need to think about the long-term viability so that we can continue to go on for another 30 years.”

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Initial announcements about lineups and ticket sales usually take place in November. Spivey said Old Settler’s aims to stick to that schedule for the upcoming event. She added that the festival may slightly increase its talent budget for the 2018 lineup.