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

                                                                                                                                      -Brent Austin, Bowlines 1999

October 24-27, 2019

*See important information concerning festival dates.


Haysi, VA

Gate Price $30

Advance Sale Price $25

See all pricing>


All proceeds benefit American Whitewater


– Celebrating 25 years –

The Russell Fork Rendezvous is a free spirited, eclectic little festival that celebrates the culture and community surrounding the Russell Fork River.

The Russell Fork River, commonly referred to at the “Grand Canyon of the East” winds through a deep gorge on the border of Virginia and Kentucky.

During the festival, there are plenty of opportunities for class II-V paddling and rafting, as well as activities like hiking into watch the extreme, Class V “Lord of the Fork” race. Admission to the festival includes onsite camping with bathrooms, showers, concessions and some electric hookups, plus huge community fires, live music and plenty of spectacle.

Join us in Haysi, VA and help us celebrate 25 years on the Russell Fork River.

– Announcements –

Corps of Engineers adds 2 days to the 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 has listened to our concerns and will be increasing releases for the upcoming Russell Fork season. Both the 1st Friday in October (10/4/2019) and the 4th Friday in October (10/25/2019) will see additional releases at 800 and 1000 respectively.

– 2019 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 2019 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.