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Kerrville Folk Festival Founder Rod Kennedy Dies

Kennedy, 84, was lifelong supporter and promoter of new singer-songwriters.


Kerrville Folk Festival founder Rod Kennedy died this morning in Kerrville at the age of 84. Kennedy started the festival in 1972, featuring unknown songwriters as well as famous songwriters.

One of them was singer Bobby Bridger, who says “his contribution is immeasurable to Texas music – it really is. I played 27 of them in a row from the first one in ’72 forward, and I saw so many young careers just explode from there – people like Lyle Lovett, Nancy Griffith and Robert Earl Keen, and just on and on and on.”

Bridger says Kennedy and music lovers who attended shows at Kerrville were great promoters of up and coming singer-songwriters. “He took care of people like me and Steve Fromholz and Mike Murphy and all of those people who were part of that first bunch of festivals. And kept us alive on the road. let us stay in their house and booked gigs for us and all sorts of stuff – so it was a big family of not just musicians and performers, but of the people around the whole music business.”

Long-time friend and singer Peter Yarrow flew in in from New York Saturday to sing songs for Kennedy, who had been in hospice care.