“The right people, the right energy, the right location.”

                                                                                                                                      -Brent Austin, Bowlines 1999

October 27-29, 2017


Elkhorn City, KY

$20 Cash Entry

All proceeds benefit American Whitewater




Join us in a celebration of the paddling culture, on and off the river, at the 24th annual Russell Fork Rendezvous.

Meet up with old friends and make new ones and you paddle the Russell Fork River through some of the most beautiful Autumn scenery the Southeast has to offer.

Don’t miss the annual “Lord of the Forks” race on Saturday.

Camp at Carson Island, in Elkhorn City, KY with live music, drums, fire circles, food and dancing. All proceeds benefit American Whitewater.


– 2017 Festival Details –



Carson Island will be open for camping Thursday (Oct 26) through Sunday evening (Oct 29).

Please purchase a wrist band when you arrive. Wristbands are $20 per person and will allow camping and re-entry all weekend, at any time.

Registration will be at the pavilion until 6pm on Friday. After that, please see the gate attendant. You must register and pay the entry fee to enter the grounds, whether you are camping or not.

We are not responsible for lost or stolen items, so please secure your belongings upon arrival.





Additional space has been opened up to camping since last year. Please note that space may still be tight, and camping is first come, first serve. There will be a family camping area, and if you are a light sleeper or go to bed early, we strongly recommend you camp there.

Carson Island is primitive camping. There are port-a-potties and a pavilion, but nothing else.  Leashed dogs are welcome, provided that they are not aggressive.

There is additional camping a few miles away at the Breaks Interstate park. We are not affiliated with the park, so all reservations and questions should be directed to them.



Rendezvous is a celebration of paddling culture. You should expect a relaxed atmosphere with music, drums, dancing, fires, hoops, and blatant exaggerations of exploits on the river.

While there will not be a costume contest this year, it’s a great time to break in your Halloween costume.

Also, and this can’t be said enough, it’s a party. Expect loud music and talking until the wee hours of the morning and pick your campsite accordingly. Earplugs are never a bad idea.



The Russell Fork River offers something for boaters of any skill level. Novices or anyone looking for a fun float can put on right at Carson Island and take out in town. Intermediate boaters can hone their skills on the upper or lower sections. Advanced boaters may choose to take on the gorge, or even participate in the Lord of the Forks race on Saturday (requires expert skill and knowledge of the run).

The upper and lower sections can also be rafted or shredded.


Food & Drink

Rendezvous is a strictly BYOB event, and all drinks must be kept in cups.

On Friday and Saturday night, food will be prepared on site and sold for $10 a plate, while supplies last. All proceeds will go to AW.

There are a few restaurants in Elkhorn City, including a Subway, Mi Acapulco Mexican Restaurant and Time Out Pizza and Grill. There’s also a grocery store.


Other Stuff

There’s plenty to do at Rendezvous!

Get loose with live music on Friday and Saturday night but make sure you save a few of your best moves for the dance party.

If you aren’t quite ready to take on the Annual Lord of the Fork race on Saturday afternoon, buddy up and hike into the gorge to watch the racers come through El Horrendo. Just wear sturdy shoes, take a bottle of water, a flashlight, and watch out for trains.

Get Involved

We are currently looking to fill dozens of volunteer spots for the 2017 Rendezvous.

View and sign up for volunteer slots here.

-Live Music-


Driftwood Gypsy

Driftwood Gypsy (Lexington, KY) is a band comprised of 6 music loving friends. Conrad Dillinger (drums, vox), Creek Sayles (bass), Jason Adams (guitar/vox), Chill Napier (guitar/vox), Dereck O’Neil Oldham (guitar,vox), Severn Edmondson (keyboards/vocals). A sonic adventure rooted in the soul of jam funk fusion, infectious grooves and charged up melodies, reinforced by a contagious live performance.


The River Funk

Hailing from near the Ocoee River in Tennessee, The River Funk is a four piece funk rock band with southern twang. The Band was founded in 2011 by original members Corrington Lancto (Lead Vocals & Guitar/ Mandolin) and Jordan Mikle (Drums) under the name “Raw-Dog.” With Jordan Mikle’s younger brother, Hunter, playing the bass guitar and new lead guitarist John Nerren, the band has really started to come into its own. The River Funk loves the whitewater kayaking community because they themselves are whitewater kayakers.




short and company perform live at russell fork rendezvous

Short & Company

2017 International Blues Challenge Semi-finalists, Short & Company is a trio hailing from the heart of Appalachia that can truly rattle the hills. Currently recording their debut album and touring the region, check them out on Facebook and Instagram for upcoming shows, album sneak peeks, and all things Short & Company!


Become a member of American Whitewater

Join the effort to preserve and protect whitewater rivers throughout the united states.

Learn more and sign up for your membership today here.