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Never Been to MerleFest? Here’s a Rundown on Why You Should Go to the 25th Anniversary of MerleFest

By Jesse Wood

April 25, 2012. Why should you go MerleFest this year? Well, the High Country Press has several reasons. First of all, it’s one of the premiere music festivals in the world; it’s right down the mountain; the lineup is spectacular every year, and the musicians are accessible; this year is the 25th anniversary; the atmosphere is family friendly with no drugs or alcohol allowed on the festival grounds; and camping is a blast with several areas for those who prefer peace and quiet or those who intend on getting a little rowdy after dusk

Though thunderstorms are in the forecast during MerleFest, Saturday will be beautiful – slightly cloudy – with temperatures in the 70s. Tickets are available in four-day ($155) and three-day ($135) passes, or single-day passes can be purchased for $35 on Thursday; $50 on Friday; $55 on Saturday; and $40 on Sunday.

Marty Stuart and Doc Watson

More than 90 artists are on the bill for the weekend; and on Friday and Saturday, 70 to 80 artists will perform. That works out to about 75 cents per performance. That bargain can’t be found anywhere but at MerleFest. And it isn’t just about quantity but quality as well. Many of the artists are some of the finest musicians of all time. Here’s just a tiny sample of who is playing this year: Doc Watson, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Vince Gill, Allison Krauss and Union Station, Los Lobos, The Punch Brothers, Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, Tony Rice and the Waybacks. 

From the High Country, the festival, which is located on the campus of Wilkes Community College, is a straight shot. Just drive out of Boone on U.S. 421 until you see an exit sign for MerleFest, which is exit #286 B. Once you turn onto the exit, its easy to find campsites, parking and shuttles to the event from there. 

For more information, peruse our festivals page or click to www.merlefest.org.

To view this year’s lineup, click to http://merlefest.org/Lineup/.

To view this year’s stage schedules, click to http://merlefest.org/Schedules/.