Grammy-winning Americana act Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and acclaimed singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile will headline the 2019 Old Settler's Music Festival, set for April 11-14 at its new home in Tilmon just southeast of Lockhart.
The festival moved to the new site last year after 16 years in Driftwood. Though farther from Austin — about an hour drive — the Tilmon site offers more space than its previous Salt Lick Pavilion/Camp Ben McCullough home. With a considerably larger mainstage area and a secondary stage plus supplemental campground and late-night stages, it's easier for Old Settler's to book acts with bigger draws.
Isbell and his band certainly fit that bill. Recent visits to Austin for the group have involved three-night stands at ACL Live and Bass Concert Hall. At Old Settler's, they'll play what the festival's announcement described as "an intimate acoustic set." Fiddler Amanda Shires, who doesn't always tour with the band, will be aboard for the Old Settler's show and also will play her own set at the fest.
Carlile, meanwhile, is coming off one of the biggest years of her career on the heels of her top-5 album "By the Way, I Forgive You." She played one of the biggest stages at the Austin City Limits Music Festival last month after taping an episode of the "Austin City Limits" TV show earlier in 2018.
Tickets are on sale now via the festival's website. A four-day general-admission pass for Thursday-Sunday is $159, with additional fees for campsites, overnight parking, and electric and RV hookups. Gold and platinum passes, $499 and $699, include other amenities including meals, snacks and early entry. Single-day tickets will go on sale later.
Other acts announced Tuesday include bluegrass greats the Del McCoury Band; the ad-hoc Latin supergroup Los Legends featuring Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, Rick Trevino and others; soulful Austin band Shinyribs, who return after playing the fest every year from 2014 to 2017; Austin troubadour Hayes Carll, who's releasing a new album in early 2019; New Orleans jam band Galactic, making its first Old Settler's appearance; and North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange, a fan favorite from the fest's final year in Driftwood.
More performers on the bill: John Moreland, Penny & Sparrow, James Hunter Six, Paul Thorn, SteelDrivers, Robert Ellis, Wood & Wire, Paul Cauthen, Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons, and Jeff Plankenhorn. Additional names will be announced later; last year's festival featured more than 30 acts.
Part of the ramping-up in the festival's booking may be due to a new partnership with Kessler Presents, a concert promoter tied to flagship Dallas venue the Kessler Theater and also Houston's Heights Theater. Old Settler's executive director Jean Spivey said in the lineup announcement that Kessler Presents' reputation "not only in Texas, but nationally allows us to reach a level in terms of artists and festival growth we never thought possible.”
Kessler Presents owner Edwin Cabaniss said that he and his associates “want to preserve the history and culture that makes the experience so special, while also helping take the festival to the next level.”