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

                                                                                                                                      -Brent Austin, Bowlines 1999

2020 Russell Fork Rendezvous

has been cancelled

Although we held out as long as we could, hoping for better news, the decision finally had to be made to cancel the festival for the 2020 season, but not to worry, plans are already underway to make 2021 bigger, better and more rowdy than ever. See you next year.


All proceeds benefit American Whitewater


2020 Russell Fork Season

is a go.

(and Ratliff Hole will be open)

Even with the festival cancelled this year, the Russell Fork boating season is still on, there’s a ton of stuff to do and the camping is as fantastic as ever.

As has been the tradition in the past, the Russell Fork Rendezvous, in cooperation with the Breaks Park will be keeping the Ratliff Hole campground, the most iconic campground in boating, open every weekend in October as a fundraiser for the festival and American Whitewater.

With camping fees set at only $10.00 per carload, per night, you’ll see why Ratliff Hole is not only one of the prettiest campgrounds you’ll ever see but for the October season, the cheapest.

Want to come to the Russell Fork but looking for other options?

Breaks Park: Want to camp at the park or stay at the lodge? With better shower options than Ratliff Hole and amazing scenery, it’s hard to go wrong with a stay at the park. Check out the website at https://www.breakspark.com/

Mountain Top Campground: Located on the festival grounds in Haysi, Va. Mountain Top Campground offers plenty of space, excellent restroom and shower facilities and plenty of water and power hookups for RVs. It’s also closer to the put in for the upper Russell Fork with easy access to plenty of horseback and dirt bike riding trails. https://www.campspot.com/book/mountaintopcampground

Thunder River Campground: Located on the pound section of the Russell Fork in Haysi, Va. Thunder River is a fantastic little campground with plenty of primitive and RV campsites. As long time supporters of the Rendezvous, Thunder River has plenty to offer and with a nice stage area is a great venue for seeing the best in local entertainment. www.thunderrivercg.com

– Announcements –

2020 Russell Fork River October release schedule.

Thanks to the support of the Corps of Engineers and the participation of kayakers throughout the region as well as kayaking associations like American Whitewater, Kentucky Whitewater, the Bluegrass Wildwater Association and the Viking Canoe Club, the Corps of Engineers will once again be offering an expanded release schedule for the upcoming Russell Fork season. Both the 1st Friday in October (10/2/2020) and the 4th Friday in October (10/23/2020) will see additional releases of 800 and 1000 respectively.













– 2021 Festival Details –



Kiwanis Park will be open for camping Thursday, Oct 24th through Sunday evening, Oct 27th.

Wristbands are $25 per person in advance or $30 at the gate and will allow camping and re-entry all weekend, at any time. There will be select discounts available for students, locals and those wishing to enter on single day passes.

Upon arrival, you will be able to drive your vehicle near your camping spot, but due to concerns about heavy traffic inside the gate, you will need to move your vehicle to the designated parking area after setup. For RVs and people who camp in their car, you may get a pass to park inside the grounds for an additional $10.

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





With the move to Kiwanis Park, there is more space for camping than in previous years. 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.

The park has restrooms with brand new showers available. Leashed dogs are welcome, provided that they are not aggressive.

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



Rendezvous is a celebration of the Russell Fork River and the unique area around it. You should expect a relaxed atmosphere with music, drums, dancing, fires, hoops, and blatant exaggerations of exploits on the river.

You do not need to be a whitewater enthusiast to enjoy Rendezvous. The area abounds with breathtaking hiking and biking opportunities and the festival includes something for everyone, including huge fires, live music, shuttles to the trailhead for the race, and more that a little spectacle.

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 Elkhorn City. 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.

Learn more about the river here.


Food & Drink

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

During the festival, the Kiwanis club will serve meals from the concession building and there are several local options including a market just a short drive away in the town of Haysi.

As is the custom with the festival, we make every effort to support the communities that are supporting us so we ask that, whenever possible, you make your purchases either within the fairgrounds or directly from businesses within the boater friendly town of Haysi.


Other Stuff

There’s plenty to do at Rendezvous and in the surrounding areas! Aside from the many events during the festival and the live music on Saturday night, the nearby Breaks Interstate Park offers abundant hiking and biking trails. Read more about the area’s attractions here.

There will be live music on Saturday night at the main stage. View the music lineup here.

Learn more

Read more about the history and current plans for Rendezvous as well as the rules for attending the event here.

-Live Music-

Booking Bands Now for the 2021 Festival

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.