AUSTIN, Texas (CelebrityAccess) — Rod Kennedy, founder of the Kerrville Folk Festival, died on Monday in hospice care. He was 84 at the time of his passing.
Kennedy launched the festival in 1972 as an offshoot of the Texas State Arts & Crafts Fair and the event has since become one of the longest running festivals in the U.S., presenting more than 1,500 artists on its stages over the years. Past performers at the festival include Peter Paul & Mary, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Michelle Shocked, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams, and Nancy Griffith among numerous others.
Kennedy also helped to bring Jazz to Texas, co-producing the Longhorn Jazz Festival with George Wein in the late 1960s. The festival brought artists such as Cannonball Adderly, Art Blakey, Roy Ayers, Milt Buckner, Dave Brubeck, Arnett Cobb, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins to the Lone Star State.
Kennedy also produced country music, gospel, traditional music, blue grass and classical music festivals and toured his festival concerts with many stars from these events to 19 states and Mexico where he produced the Isla Mujeres International Music Festival for a decade.
In addition to festivals, Kennedy was responsible for several music venues, including the Chequered Flag folk music club in Austin and the Jazz Club of Boston. – Staff Writers