The Kerrville Folk Festival, which begins its 32nd go-round this weekend, is known the world over as a premier destination for acoustic-minded music fans. But that wasn't always the case. In The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, Jan Reid's recently revamped warts-and-all history of the Armadillo era, Kerrville founder Rod Kennedy explains his difficulty convincing his neighbors the festival was on the up-and-up:
"'There's a great deal of local trepidation about what we're doing up there,' Kennedy said. 'We're keeping up a continuing, low-pressure publicity campaign about our moving to Kerrville, about the way our festivals bring young and old people together, about the age-old tradition of festivals in this country. To the uninitiated, the word "festival" means rock, pot, bottle-throwing, filth. Which is something we're campaigning against.'"
Kennedy retired in 2001, but Kerrville is still going strong; see www.kerrvillefolkfestival.com for a full rundown. Reid, Steven Fromholz, Ray Benson, and other Redneck Rock faces will participate in a panel discussion 7pm Wednesday at Stubb's, with music afterward by Fromholz, Colin Gilmore, and lots more. Proceeds benefit the SIMS Foundation.