By Joe Johnson
Brooks Forsyth, an up-and-coming Americana musician from Boone, North Carolina, will be one of the contestants in the upcoming 2019 MerleFest band competition on Saturday, April 27. Brooks will be performing his set on the Plaza Stage at MerleFest music festival from 12:45 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on April 27; MerleFest is held on the Wilkes Community College campus located at 1328 S. Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697.
Hailing from Boone, North Carolina, Brooks is a new class of Americana singer-songwriter. A versatile guitar player, Brooks reels in crowds with his masterful flatpicking and fingerpicking and he keeps them there with his melodic storyteller’s voice. His songwriting encompasses a variety of genres within Americana such as folk, country blues, bluegrass and roots rock. Brooks’ newest project, So Much Beyond Us, was released on September 21, 2018. The album is a collection of new-style country Americana with down-home country storytelling. He recorded with producers Buzz and Parker Cason at Nashville’s Creative Workshop. The album includes musicians Sadler Vaden, guitarist of Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit, Grand Old Opry fiddler Eamon McLoughlin, bassist Michael Rinne, and drummer Jon Radford.
Founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson, son of the legendary musician Doc Watson, MerleFest is a music festival fundraiser celebrating “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. Considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, MerleFest serves as an annual homecoming for musicians and music fans. The festival hosts numerous artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
MerleFest 2019 began on Thursday, April 25 and will be holding performances through Sunday, April 28 on all 13 of its stages. The gates opened for Thursday’s performances at 2:30 p.m. and gates will open for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances at 10:30 a.m. each day. Parking is free and shuttle buses will run continuously beginning at 7:30 a.m. until the last person is delivered. For more information about arrival to MerleFest visit https://merlefest.org/arrival-information/arrival-faq/. For more information about how to get to MerleFest and what the rules are at MerleFest, visit https://merlefest.org/arrival-information/.
Various ticket packages are available at https://merlefest.org/purchase/, with kids 12 and under granted free admission with a paying adult. One may register to tent camp, pop-up camp, or RV camp for a fee; Late Night Jam and Back Stage Tour ticket options are also available, as well as four-day, three-day, or single-day ticket packages for reserved seating or general admission. Tickets may be purchased online at any time and will also be available at the box office located at the main festival entrance.
Bands and artists performing at MerleFest include the likes of The Avett Brothers, Brandi Carlile, Amos Lee, Wynonna and the Big Noise, Daily and Vincent, Tyler Childers, Keb’ Mo’, The Milk Carton Kids, The Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas, The Earls of Leicester, Sam Bush Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, Peter Rowan, The Brother Brothers, Molly Tuttle, Jim Lauderdale, Scythian, Kruger Brothers, The Gibson Brothers, The Black Lillies, Radney Foster, Junior Sisk, Chatham County Line, Donna the Buffalo, Mark & Maggie O’Connor, The Waybacks, Yarn, Sean McConnell, The Casey Kristofferson Band, T. Michael Coleman, Jim Avett, Junior Brown, and many more influential “traditional plus” artists.