– 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 29th 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 2023 Rendezvous will be held on October 26-29 at the Thunder River Campground at 1558 Splashdam Rd in Haysi, VA.¬† While not technically affiliated with the “Lord of the Forks” race, most participants and spectators stay at the festival to enjoy the camaraderie of paddlers from all over the world and get the most out of this precious natural resource.

– 2023 Festival Info –

With plenty to do and a lot to see, the 2023 Russell Fork Rendezvous will be held at the Thunder River Campground  (1558 Splashdam Rd in Haysi, VA.). Entry to the event will be $30 cash at the gate per person. Full service RV sites are also available for an additional  $20 per site for the duration of the festival.

While at the festival or on your way in, we encourage everyone to hold off on purchasing supplies until you are within a 20 mile radius of the festival. Supporting the communities that support us is extremally important and deeply appreciated.

Festival Rules

  1. Entry to the event is $30 cash at the gate per person. RV’s with full hookups are an additional $20 per site.
  2. Camping is permitted in designated areas only. Guests who prefer quiet camping should take advantage of the areas designated as “Quiet Camping Only”. These sites will be the furthest from the stage but with a reminder that you are at a music festival, will not be totally silent.
  3. Parking will be permitted on the festival grounds and for those car camping, at your site.
  4. Speed limit within the festival grounds will be 5 mph and strictly enforced. Please be considerate of the safety of those around you.
  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, leashed 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 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.
  10. As is a Rendezvous tradition, there will be a large communal bonfire. Campfires will be permitted at your site but MUST be in an above ground firepit.