1981 was a significant year for the KFF family. It was the 10th anniversary for the Folk Festival and an extra weekend was added bringing the number of days up to eleven total. This was the first time there were days with no concert in the main Theatre. On Day 6, 7 and 8 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), two hour concerts were held at the Threadgill Theatre in the campground. Unlike many folk festivals that ran simultaneous stages, KFF wanted every concert to be special and promised when the Threadgill Theatre was built that they would never have concerts there and Mainstage at the same time.
Two other milestones for 1981 was that a new stage was built to replace the original Mainstage and the New Folk Finalist concerts were moved to the ranch from the Arts & Crafts Festival in Kerrville. Before this New Folk Finalists had played their two songs at the Arts & Crafts Festival on Memorial Day weekend and then the six winners played their forty minute sets at the Quiet Valley Ranch. The contest had become such a big part of the festival that it was only natural that the process should move up closer. The concerts were held in the main theater the first weekend in the afternoon and the forty minute concerts were held the next weekend there.
There were many festivals on the ranch that year. Two Sponsor Association festivals, one that paid tribute to Hondo Crouch, the cowboy poet "mayor" of Luckenbach who had recently passed away. The other featured Eliza Gilkyson (aka Lisa Gilkyson then) and other winners from previous New Folk contests. A Bluegrass Winterfest was held before the Folk Festival. Also prior to the festival was the 3rd Kerrville on the Road's Texas Tour. A 2nd Austin Street Dance was held and the Texas Legislature passed a bill honoring the Festival's 10th Anniversary. In Houston an annual tradition began in Hermann Park. A free festival was produced with KFF artists. This helped Houstonians hear about the festival
The construction of the new stage was done mostly my volunteers and was just barely finished before the first concert started on Thursday. In fact, it was literally being built on the first morning of the 10th Kerrville Folk Festival.
Here is the staff according to the program that year:
"Paisley Robertson started working in the office this year. Lee Green and Buddy Sims were in charge of checking staff in. This was the first year the Friends of Bill W met (Alcoholics Anonymous) behind the office."After this festival and because it had rained so much, the festival lost a lot money, there was a concert held in the summer called Kerrville Tears of Joy Reunion. The 8th Bluegrass Festival and the 3rd 12 Great Hours took place as well as a real departure from folk music on the ranch, the 1st Summer Music Festival.
Mary Jane Farmer25
"The staff shirts were black with white lettering.(HOT} It rained big time, Turtle Creek was too high to cross and Radar's VW van washed down the creek.Radar had to be rescued from a tree."
"That year all of the electrical ditches I had dug in the theatre the previous year got washed out and I had to dig them all again. I may be shy on details, but the fact remains that I was digging ditches all day and picking my blisters into callouses all night."
"I was camped up on the hill overlooking the theatre and it was lovely to sit up there in the evenings and hear the Festival orchestra's music sweep up the hillside. At other festivals, Rod and Nancylee's horses would make themselves scarce, but at the classical festivals, they would lean over the fence separating their domain from the theatre and perk their ears up..."Another first for this year was the Louisiana Folk Festival produced by Rod in the same style of KFF. 241981 KFF program 25interview with Mary Jane Farmer 26interview with Joe Montgomery 27Ky Hote 28Ky Hote