Gauley Fest - September 17-20, 2020 - Summersville, WV


American Whitewater's Biggest Public Outreach Event!

All proceeds from the festival support American Whitewater's river conservation and access works throughout the nation. Started in 1983 to celebrate the derailment of a hydro-electric project that would have disrupted the flows on the Gauley River, Gauley Fest has grown to become the largest paddling festival in the world.

The festival is a showcase for American Whitewater and the top whitewater vendors in the boating community. The festival will feature live entertainment, a whitewater marketplace, raffle, and a silent auction where you can pick up some awesome outdoor gear. Come out and join us for a weekend of great paddling, exciting camaraderie, live entertainment, killer boat raffles, and the infamous silent auction.

Note: Gauley Fest will always be held on the third Saturday of September


The Gauley Fest vendor marketplace is second to none for reaching the whitewater boating and outdoor community in the US. Every year literally thousands of attendees come from nearly every state in the U.S. to Gauley Fest to view product demonstrations, interact with manufacturer representatives, and make purchases. Purchasing a vendor space at Gauley Fest offers a terrific opportunity to vendors who wish to reach a broad demographic and generate substantial sales for their business. Additional information is available at:

We will be seeking new food vendors for Gauley Fest 2019! Food vendor opportunities at Gauley Fest are a perfect way to showcase your local restaurant or unique food cart to thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. Food vendors may email us directly as specific menu, licensing, electrical and space requirements must be approved in advance as part of our food vendor screening process.

Reserve your 2019 Gauley Fest Vendor space now!


In the name of safety, the following parking limits are in place and are dictated based on the festival's capacity. Parking is managed by American Whitewater with the assistance of the Nicholas County Sheriff's Dept and facilitated by Gauley Fest volunteers during peak festival entry times. Please use safety precautions when entering the festival grounds from Hwy 19. Traffic and parking updates are available on our Facebook event page.

Vehicle access into the festival camping area is limited after 6:00 PM on Friday and 4:00 PM on Saturday based on vehicle capacity, attendees are required to walk into the festival and use the exterior parking area as directed during peak traffic times.

Walk in access is available during the entire festival, please plan accordingly or arrive early if you are concerned about carrying in your boating or camping equipment. This park and walk-in system is the exact same that you would see at any other festival of Gauley Fest's size and is a safety necessity. The inner festival area and walk from our exterior parking is approximately 100-300 yards.

Peak entry times into the festival are listed below; vehicle entry may not be allowed and walk in traffic is required:

  • Friday 6:00 PM - 12:30 AM
  • Saturday 4:00 PM - 12:30 AM

Entrance Fees

  • Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: $50 (camping included)
  • Friday and Saturday: $40 (camping included)
  • Saturday only: $30 (camping included)
  • Saturday only: $20 (day use)
  • Dogs: $30 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - (please keep your dogs on a leash and under you control at all times)
  • Dogs: $20 Saturday only (day use)
  • Kids 15 and under: FREE

We encourage you to remember that American Whitewater is a non-profit organization and Gauley Fest is our biggest event of the year. All the money raised goes to fund our river stewardship projects. Again in 2018, there will be a suggested quiet camping zone behind the cabins on your left as you enter the festival gate.

We do not encourage bringing dogs to the festival site but if you do bring your furry companion it is your responsibility to keep them on a leash, keep them in your control at all times, and that you responsibly clean-up after them.


gvol.jpg Gauley Fest can't happen without your help! Please consider signing up for two 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 that's also AW's biggest fundraiser.

For your time you'll be given a “volunteers only” Gauley Fest T-shirt, tickets for a “volunteer only” raffle, plus the feeling of knowing that you help make Gauley Fest happen! We've even got a few more “volunteer only” surprises up our sleeves too. Don't want to volunteer alone? Bring your friends!

Signing Up

Sign up to volunteer now!

If you have any additional questions please contact our volunteer coordinator Natalie Price (she's the best!) at Slots are on a first come, first serve basis so we'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! See ya there!

Schedule and Musical Acts

Thursday, September 17, 2020

  • 10:00 AM Vendor & Volunteer Registration Opens
  • 12:00 PM Festival Campground Opens
  • 12:00 AM Quiet Hours Begin (family campsites located behind cabins near main entrance)

Friday, September 18, 2020

  • 6:00 AM Gauley River Release
  • 8:00 AM Vendor & Volunteer Registration Opens
  • 5:00 PM Festival Marketplace Opens
  • 7:00 PM No more vehicle access to the inner festival grounds permitted for the night (visitors and campers must walk from parking area)
  • 9:00 PM DJ Dance Party featuring TerrEnce Young
  • 12:00 AM Quiet Hours Begin (family campsites located behind cabins near main entrance)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

  • 6:00 AM Gauley River Release
  • 8:00 AM Volunteer Registration Opens
  • 8:00 AM 4-H Breakfast at the Dining Hall Opens
  • 2:00 PM Festival Marketplace Opens
  • 5:00 PM AW Silent Auction Opens
  • 6:00 - 7:00 PM Live Music: River Funk
  • 6:00 PM No more vehicle access to the inner festival grounds permitted for the night (visitors and campers must walk from parking area)
  • 7:15 PM Festival Announcements
  • 7:30 - 8:30 PM Live Music: River Funk
  • 9:15 - 10:15 PM Live Music: Groundhog Gravy
  • 10:00 PM AW Membership Drive Closes
  • 10:00 PM Silent Auction Closes
  • 10:15 PM Raffle Drawings
  • 11:00 PM Live Music: Groundhog Gravy
  • 12:00 AM Quiet Hours Begin (family campsites located behind cabins near main entrance)

Sunday September 20, 2020

  • 6:00 AM Gauley River Release
  • 8:00 AM 4-H Breakfast at Dining Hall Opens
  • 9:00 AM Festival Breakdown and Cleanup Begin (please pitch in and fill a trash bag to help show the community we care)
  • 11:00 AM Camping and Vehicle Parking On Site Ends


camping.jpg Camping options at Gauley Fest are pretty standard - large-festival-camping. We have a few simple rules:

  • No fires on the ground (a limited amount of pre-approved contained fire pits are available to rent from the NCVM Park on a first come first serve basis / each illegal fire mark American Whitewater $100.00.
  • No glass bottles (we are using a children's recreation area!)
  • Bathhouses and outhouses are available onsite with a limited amount of showers
  • Electricity for campers is not available onsite, please plan accordingly
  • Trash dumpsters are available onsite, please plan in advance to pack out recycling and provide your own trash bags
  • Camping spaces are first come, first serve and not numbered or available in the vendor marketplace field
  • No camping before Thursday
  • A suggested quiet camping zone is available behind the cabins on your left as you enter the festival gate
  • Dogs are discouraged at Gauley Fest (if you must bring your dog they need a gate band, really!)
  • Dogs must be under the owners control at all times (please do not leave dogs unattended at the festival or in your vehicle)
  • Owners must clean up after their dogs
  • Aggressive and unattended dogs will be impounded by animal control

Map and Directions


Festival Site: Google Maps

Shuttle: Download a Gauley River shuttle pdf (note: not all roads are on this shuttle map) and bring it with you

Facebook Event

See who's going and invite your friends! See the