By Jesse Wood
March 4, 2016. Without a doubt, the camping at MerleFest is just as much fun as the actual festival. And the music around the campfires is swell as well.
Be careful which site you pick: while some of the sites are quite, peaceful and for families, other sites are mainly for the owls and those looking for a little rowdiness after the festivities on the MerleFest grounds.
Also, call in advance and reserve you site today as many of the sites are on a first serve, first come basis. Some of the RV sites with full hook-ups are already sold out.
MerleFest 2016 takes place Thursday to Sunday, April 28 to May 1, 2016, in Wilkesboro. Read below for info on several campsites. Post a Facebook comment below on your favorite site, and if we missed one, mention that as well and we’ll add it to the list.
North Wilkesboro Rotary & Fire Department Camping
Located, three miles from the MerleFest entrance, the North Wilkesboro Fire Department provides camping at the North Wilkesboro Rotary Park during the festival.
Amenities include free air conditioned shuttle to and from MerleFest, indoor heated restrooms and hot showers, and all the free firewood you can burn delivered to your campsite with the rental of $5 burn pan.
Tent camping costs $65 for the weekly rate (Wednesday to Monday) and $25 per night. RV camping with no hookups cost $90 per week or $35 per night.
As of Jan. 15, the campsite sold out of all its RV full hook-up spots, but has plenty of “dry” RV camping offering free water and dump station available to those dry camping.
For more information, click to http://www.nwfd.us/merlefest_camping.htm or call 336-838-2552.
The Wilkes YMCA Campground at Rivers Edge Park
The Wilkes YMCA Campground is located at the end of Rivers Edge Park, convenient to both the Blue Lot and MerleFest. 150 camping sites area available, including 30 campfire sites and 20 sites for pop-up vans or small campers with no hook-ups. The family-oriented campground doesn’t allow drugs, alcohol or pets. Night security is on duty from 8 to 6 p.m. Six people per campsite, one car and one tent per site.
Register by March 31 and three days of camping – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – costs $120. Thereafter, it costs $150. To add Wednesday and/or Sunday session costs $30 extra per night.
For more information, click to http://www.merlefestcamping.org or call 336-838-3991.
Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping
Dancin’ Dave travels the festival circuit and sets up campsites for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of “packing tents, sleeping bags, coolers and other cumbersome supplies.” He does all the work.
His sites consist of three plans to choose from – one is a basic campsite with one tent, another is a campsite with a gazebo and table, and the third plan is a campsite with full kitchen, gazebo, fire extinguishers and table.
All campsites include comfortable sleeping bags, cots or self-inflatable pads, coolers if needed, lantern, first aid kit, water jug, and camp chairs. Sleeping bags are equipped with sleeping bag liners.
This is his 15th year at MerleFest. He will set up at any of the campgrounds in the area.
Billed as the “friendliest MerleFest camping this side of the Mississippi,” the VFW campground is located along the Yadkin River in North Wilkesboro and located about four miles from MerleFest.
It has a free shuttle to and from festival, indoor restrooms and hot showers, electrical outlets and frequent night picking and jams in the campground, which features 48 RV full hook-up sites, 12 RV partial hook-ups and 15 acres of camping.
- Full Hook-ups: $150 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, $50 additional night
- Partial Hook-ups: $120 for three days, $40 additional night
- Camper, No Hook-up: $90 for three days, $30 additional night
- Tent sites: $75 for three days, $25 additional night, $30 one night
Tent sites include up to 2 adult and 2 children (age 12 and under) or 3 adults and no children. Each additional child is $5 per night and each additional adult is $10 per night. All camping includes one vehicle pass with each additional pass being $5.
For more info, call 336-667-1655 or click to http://www.vfwcampground.moonfruit.com/#/merlefest/4543500198
Wilkesboro Fire Department Campground (Sewerfest)
As High Country Press reported in 2010, “Don’t let the nickname dissuade you—Sewerfest is one of the most happenin’, popular campgrounds near MerleFest. Plus in 10 years of hosting campers for MerleFest, organizers have never had any complaints about odor coming from the nearby Town of Wilkesboro Wastewater Treatment Plant.
It’s famous for its late night music pickin’ sessions of the guests, and instruments are encouraged. Located two miles east of the festival, Sewerfest features hot showers, free firewood, a heated building for jam sessions, shuttles to the festival, and concessions.”
500 tent sites, 150 RV sites with electric hook-ups exist.
Tent sites are $80 per weekend. RV sites with electrical hookups are $150 per week, but only a few are left. For more info, call 336-667-2391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more info, a campground map and 2013 registration form, click here: http://www.wilkesboronorthcarolina.com/n_page_dsp_g.php?page_id=no_twsv19.
Masonic Campsites on Moravian Creek – Liberty Lodge
Located directly across the creek from the college campus MerleFest is held on, you can enjoy the music of MerleFest from the comfort of your campsite. However, you can’t ford the creek, so it is a 10-minute to the festival.
Campsites are $80 for one night and $100 for two-plus nights. If you haven’t established yourself as an upstanding camper, then a $50 non-refundable deposit is required.
“Each campsite is about 20′ x 20′ and vehicle accessible. The campsite is to have one vehicle and as many tents/campers as you can fit. There is overflow parking for an extra cost of $10 for the extra vehicle and/or oversize trucks,” according to the Masonic organization’s website. “We run a clean, neighborly campground with few rules other than the Golden Rule, and we pride ourselves on our many repeat customers. Liberty Lodge offers an all-you-can-eat hot breakfast for $7 per guest on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Our indoor shower has a dedicated gas water heater that virtually never runs out of hot water; additionally, we have indoor toilets and several outdoor portable toilets, plus a large outdoor stainless steel sink for cleaning your camping cookware.”
For more information, click to: http://www.ncmason.net/liberty45/MerleFest.shtml.
High Country Motorcycle Camp
High Country Motorcycle Camp is a motorcycle-only campground about 20 miles from MerleFest. Facilities include a clean bathhouse with hot showers, picnic tables, fire rings, grills and tent camping. Tent camping is $12 per night, and a bunkhouse is available for $30. For more info, call 336-973-3911 or click to www.highcountrymotorcyclecamp.com.
RV Camping for Patron Package Holders
A limited number of RV Camping spaces are available for purchase for MerleFest with a four-day or Patron Package.
The RV Camping Lot is located within festival grounds and a shuttle service operates throughout the festival weekend to transport campers to the primary festival venues. No power, water, or sewer hook-ups are available. The RV Camping Lot is managed by our RV Campground Host and his team of volunteers.
For more info, click here: http://merlefest.org/RVCamping/
Also for more information about camping at MerleFest, check out the “Campgrounds and Camping” message board at MerleFest’s website: http://merlefest.org/forums.aspx?g=topics&f=7680
For tickets and more info about MerleFest, click to: http://www.merlefest.org.