2023 Russell Fork Rendezvous

October 26th through 30th. Thunder River Campground, Haysi, Virginia.

2023 Russell Fork Rendezvous

Welcome to the 29th annual Russell Fork Rendezvous. This years festival will be held at the Thunder River Campground in beautiful Haysi, Va.

1558 Splashdam Rd, Haysi, VA 24256



2023 Russell Fork Season

 Another exciting season at Ratliff Hole.

With the Russell Fork Rendezvous in it’s 29th year, the festival will be celebrating both the culture and the history of the Russell Fork for the entire month of October. There’s a ton of stuff to do and with the festival capping the month of October at the Thunder River Campground in Haysi, Va. this will be the best season of boating on the Russell Fork in a long time.
As has been the tradition, the Russell Fork Rendezvous, with the help of the Breaks Park will be keep the Ratliff Hole campground open every weekend in October, starting on October 6th.
With camping fees set from $20.00 to $25.00 per car load, per weekend (Up to 6 people per car) or $10.00 per night,  you’ll see why Ratliff Hole is the most iconic campground in boating.

Want to come to the Russell Fork but looking for other camping 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. Open every weekend in October except festival weekend. On festival weekend, camping is still available, you’ll just be doing it at the festival. Party hard and quiet camping options available. https://www.campspot.com/book/mountaintopcampground

Ratliff Hole Camping: Camping at Ratliff Hole is still available during race weekend. Sites are 30.00 per site, which come with a free pass to the festival. Special rates for the festival are available for Lord of the Fork race volunteers and the racers.

– Announcements –

2023 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. The first full release for October will be on October 6th – 8th at 800 cfs, with the last release being October October 27th – 29th of 2023 at 1000 cfs.


Thunder River Campground

For 2023, the Russell Fork Rendezvous moves to Thunder River Campground.

Although we can’t thank the Haysi Kiwanis Club enough for their support over the years and truly embrace their mission of supporting children’s charities on a global scale, this year, the Russell Fork Rendezvous will be moving to a larger venue at the Thunder River Campground in Haysi, Va.  (1558 Splashdam Rd, Haysi, VA 24256). With 30 RV sites, restrooms, shower facilities, food trucks as well as tons of primitive camping options, Thunder River is an ideal location for the festival.

Want to learn more. Check it out.

– 2023 Festival Details –



Thunder River Campground will be open for camping Thursday, Oct 26th through Sunday evening, Oct 30th.

Upon arrival, you will be able to drive your vehicle near your camping spot to unload but due to concerns about heavy traffic inside the festival grounds, you will need to move your vehicle to the designated parking area after setup. For RVs and those wishing to keep their vehicle within the festival grounds, you may purchase a special parking pass for an additional $10.

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





With the move to Thunder River Campground, 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 campground 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 and the Mountain Top Campground. 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 we encourage everyone to keep the refuge to a minimum. Trash containers will be provided.

With the move to the new venue this year, there are plenty of eating options and we encourage everyone to support our food vendors.

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 to do

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 Friday and Saturday nights, both Haysi and 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 both Friday and Saturday night on 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 2023 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.