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2007 Gauley River Festival presented by Subaru

Posted: 08/28/2007
by Ben Van Camp

Welcome to the American Whitewater Gauley River Festival presented by Subaru, the paddling world’s biggest party!


Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted whitewater flows on the Gauley, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest river festival in the world, posting attendance numbers of over 5,000 people in 2006.


The festival will feature live entertainment, a whitewater marketplace, lots of on river activities, and a silent auction where you can pick up some awesome outdoor gear. The Gauley River Festival is a critical fundraiser for American Whitewater and is our largest fundraising event.  All proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater’s conservation and access work throughout the Southeast. Come out and join us for a weekend of great paddling, exciting competitions, live entertainment, and the infamous silent auction. Check out some highlights of this years event:


Thursday September 20, 2007

  • Dagger Safety Initiative: The DSI Program is a dry land “essentials” class that teaches use of throw bags, proper gear and common sense   on the river. It is by NO MEANS the only training you should get but rather just the basics. We encourage everyone that attends to take a full two day class but this at least gets paddlers on their way to more swiftwater education. The class is instructed by Mike Mather and is FREE!!!!!! Sign up by emailing


Friday September 21, 2007

  • Ladies on the Lower G begins at NARR: North American River Runners, Kokotat and Girls At Play is proud to present the “Ladies On The Lower G” to benefit American Whitewater. On Friday, 9/21/07, the women of these organizations will be hosting a paddle down the Lower Gauley River. Any woman who is comfortable paddling down the Lower Gauley, and would like to join some of the most influential women in the sport of kayaking, are encouraged to sign up for what promises to be a wonderful event. The $30 registration fee for the event includes shuttles, a hot lunch catered by NARR, and after-paddling drinks. There will be free schwag, a raffle and prizes! All net proceeds from the event will be donated to AW to help keep up its work protecting and restoring whitewater rivers across the country. To register for “Ladies on the Lower G” please call NARR at 1-800-950-2585, extension 309.
  • WaveSport Open begins at Pillow Rock: Wave Sport is excited to announce the 4th Annual Wave Sport Open! A friendly competition that embraces all paddlers, in all boats, the WSO defines the true meaning of playboating: a free form, no rules, no restrictions style that embodies the reason we all paddle…to be creative and have fun on the river in whichever craft we choose. 2007 Events include: Rolling Mass Start Race (Pillow @11:00, Lost Paddle @ 12:00, Sweets Falls @ 1:00)
  • Volunteer Recognition Dinner: American Whitewater volunteers are welcome to join American Whitewater staff and board members for a thank you dinner.  Volunteers will be treated to an all you can eat lasagna dinner at 6:00 in the festival site dining hall.
  • Halftime String Band: As the sun starts to set the music starts to crank at Gauley Festival.  Join us on Friday night for some classic blue grass music and dancing from the Halftime String Band.
  • 7 Weeks in Tibet: While the band takes a break we will follow an international team of 6 whitewater kayakers as they embark on a journey of a lifetime. Their challenging attempt to be the first to paddle the length of the PARLUNG TSANGPO river in Tibet takes them deep into the heart of the Himalayas. From there they have to survive an incredible 12 days on the river battling their way through huge whitewater rapids. Friendships, skill and nerves will all be tested to the limit.  Movie premier will begin at 8:30 at the stage below the red barn.


Saturday September 22nd

Saturdays is the busiest day of Gauley Festival with all sorts of activities including:

  • AW membership Drive:  Join or renew your AW membership at Gauley Festival and  get hooked up with a sweet bag full of goodies from American Whitewater’s partners.  Every member will also be entered in a raffle to win one of several new kayaks.
  • Silent Auction:  The Gauley Festival silent auction is your opportunity to pick up some great whitewater and outdoor gear for a great deal.  All the proceeds from the silent auction benefit American Whitewater’s river stewardship work. 
  • Music:  Gauley Festival is as much about music as it is about boating.  This year we have a great line up of music that includes:
    • Halftime String Band:  The Halftime String band has played at every Gauley Festival for the past three years.  There mix of traditional and modern bluegrass music will get the music started this year.  Check out the Halftime String Band website at:
    • Anonymous:  Every show is something new, something exciting, a work in progress on its own - with a different set list every night, the ever-growing originals, the new jams, and original twists on famous covers. The goal is to get everyone in the groove. They’ve got something to say, something to offer, and they want everybody to hear it, and to enjoy it. Check out the Anonymous website at:
    • Bucktown Kickback: BuckTown KickBack  has blazed an impressive trail through the richly diverse Americana landscape from Ohio and the Midwest to Nashville, TN with their Alt.Country/Bluegrass/Folk-Rock originals. Headlining concerts and opening up for the likes of Alabama, Junior Brown, Railroad Earth, Todd Snider and Stacey Earle, Dudding and his band electrify listeners with their live performances and studio recordings, both showcasing intelligent songwriting and incredible musicianship. Here music and learn more about Bucktown Kickback at: >


Volunteers Needed
The catch is that Gauley Fest just can't happen without your help.  Please sign up for 2 hours (or more) and become a part of the Gauley Fest Volunteer Team!  It's a fun and easy way for you to be a critical part of an amazing festival.  For your time you'll be given a "volunteers only"  Gauley Fest T-shirt, invitation to a private "volunteers only" dinner (with great beer!), a well-filled swag bag, and the feeling of knowing that you make it happen!  Don't want to volunteer alone?  Bring your friends!

Here are some possible volunteer opportunities for you and your friends:

  • Set-up:  Arriving early?  We need help Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • Electrical:  Are you an electrician?  We could really use your help on Thursday or Friday.
  • Gate, Parking, Membership, Raffle/T-shirt Sales, and Errands:  We need your help for these positions Friday and Saturday.
  • Clean-up:  The more folks we have the faster it goes!  Sunday morning-ish.  With 10+ volunteers it won't take more than an hour!

Slots are on a first come, first serve basis so email me soon and I'll try to get you in your preferred volunteer slot.  If you're part of a club or group of friends that would like to help out, please let us know as well!

To volunteer email Stacey Johnson at

For more information on Gauley Festival go to:

Ben VanCamp
49 Johnston Blvd
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-713-5825