ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting on December 1st, the subscription rates will change. The new renewal rate will be $20 for the yearly membership and $4 for the monthly membership. If you currently have a membership, you will be charged the new rate upon renewal.

Llano Rock’n Riverfest returns to a flowing waterway

Llano Rock’n Riverfest

Competitive personal watercraft riders will be vying for positions in the upcoming world finals during the Llano Rock’n Riverfest on July 1. Courtesy photo, Llano Rock’n Riverfest

Llano Rock’n Riverfest is back in 2023 after being canceled in 2022 due to severe drought conditions. The annual personal watercrafting festival is from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, July 1, at Badu Park, 300 Legion Drive in Llano.

The festival features an extreme freestyle watercrafting qualifier for the International Jet Sports Boating Association world finals, food and drinks, and live music. Fireworks in honor of Independence Day cap off the event 30 minutes after sunset.

Rock’n Riverfest, a Llano Chamber of Commerce project, is free and open to the public. Visitors can watch world-class personal watercraft operators perform stunts and tricks as they compete for positions in the IJSBA finals. The action starts at 10 a.m. and is expected to go all day. Vendors will sell craft foods and beer. Kin Faux will perform their brand of Texas country. 

Llano Dam
The Llano River flows over the dam at Badu Park on June 23, 2023, a stark contrast to the summer of 2022, when the river had ceased to flow through Llano at all. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Llano River at Badu Park is normally off-limits to motorized watercraft, but the city makes an exception for Rock’n Riverfest. In 2022, the event was canceled because the river had ceased to flow over the dam leading up to the July 4, raising concerns about potential contamination of the city’s drinking water with fuel leakage that could not be washed away in the current.

Last year was the second-driest year in 128 years of records for Llano. The river reached a flow of zero cubic-feet per second over the Llano Dam by June 10, 2022. While Llano County is still in the middle of a drought, 2023 is only the 43rd-driest year on record. The Llano River was flowing at 162 cubic-feet per second as of Friday, June 23, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Hydromet