– About –

– History –

The Russell Fork Rendezvous began in 1994. Originally called the Bluegrass Wildwater Association Fall Party, it started as a race between friends from Garden Hole to the takeout at Potters Mill. Soon after its modest conception, a musical element was added and the event was moved to Haysi, VA.

When AW listed the Russell Fork as America’s most endangered river in 1997, more musical acts stepped in, in an effort to raise money to fight on the river’s behalf. Paddlers also reached out to prominent locals for support.

The Gorge section was once considered to be nearly impossible to navigate safely, but advances in boat and gear design now allow it to be enjoyed by a wider range of skilled paddlers. As the popularity of the river grew, so did the festival.

– Today –

Now in its 25th year, the Russell Fork Rendezvous has since is going back to its roots, with a return to Haysi, VA. The event is still a celebration of paddling culture and the proceeds still go to support American Whitewater. The Russell Fork River is still considered to be endangered, as strip mines and environmental issues continue to threaten its pristine beauty.

The event remains organic in nature, with primitive camping, few rules, and a focus on enjoying the river and our unique culture.

The 2019 Rendezvous will be held on October 27-29 at the Kiwanis Park in Haysi, VA. While not technically affiliated with the now named “Lord of the Forks” race, many participants and spectators stay at the park to enjoy the camaraderie of paddlers from all over the world and get the most out of this precious natural resource.

Learn more about the history of the Russell Fork Rendezvous

This information was taken from a 1999 November/December issue of Bowlines.

Read the article about Rendezvous through the years here.

– 2019 Festival Info –

The 2019 Russell Fork Rendezvous will be held at the Kiwanis Park in Haysi, VA (). Entry to the event will be $30 Cash at the gate or $25 in advance, per person. The entry fee will include camping and live music all weekend. There will also be vendors, food, a river shuttle service and community fires.

Festival Rules

  1. Entry to the event is $30 cash at the gate or $25 in advance, per person. Click here to purchase advance tickets.
  2. Camping is permitted in designated areas only. The field and racetrack camping areas are open to anyone. Guests who prefer quiet camping should take advantage of the ball field camping area just down the hill. No drums or late night noise is permitted in the ball field.
  3. Parking will be only permitted outside the front gate with the one exception being allowed for those that are car camping.  These vehicles will be allowed on the festival grounds with an additional fee of $10 per vehicle. Not to worry, those camping on the festival grounds will be permitted entry to the grounds to offload camping gear and permanent parking is only a short walk away.
  4. Speed limit within the festival grounds will be 5 mph and strictly enforced. Those violating this will have their driving privileges revoked and be required to park outside the festival grounds for the duration of the festival.
  5. Wrist bands must be worn at all times.
  6. Dogs are allowed on festival grounds as long as they are under the control of their owners and get along well with other dogs and people. Dogs should not be left unattended or be allowed to roam the grounds without supervision. Owners must clean up after their dogs.
  7. Pet owners who bring their animals to the festival do so with the understanding that they are wholly and fully liable for any damages or disturbances created by their pets.
  8. Large public bonfires will be provided at several locations during the festival but will not be permitted at individual campsites unless they are on raised fire pits.
  9. Dumpsters will be available near the front entrance. Please keep your area clean and remove all trash and deposit in dumpsters before leaving the festival grounds.