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MerleFest moving festival to September, 2021

MerleFest moving festival to September, 2021


The Avett Brothers perform at a previous MerleFest in Wilkesboro.

WILKESBORO — Festival organizers announced Monday that MerleFest, presented by Window World, will be moving to the weekend of Sept. 16-19, 2021.

MerleFest, dubbed by Rolling Stone as “the gold standard for bluegrass, Americana, and string-music festivals,” is normally held the last weekend of April, but the 2020 festival was canceled due to public safety concerns amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials stressed that this would be a one-time move to the fall and organizers plan to return to the traditional April weekend in 2022.

“We chose to announce this change now to give everyone an opportunity to put this on their calendar and to allow us time to secure all artists and contract the necessary support services,” said festival director Ted Hagaman. “Lineup information and other festival details will be coming soon.

“After months of deliberation and extensive research with leading medical experts, we feel it is in the best interest of our fans, artists, staff, college, and community to reschedule the 2021 festival to the fall,” he said. “We have a reputation for providing a quality, safe, and organized festival and feel this move is necessary to again deliver that type of event. We’d like to express appreciation to many for their ‘can do’ spirit in rearranging schedules and plans to accommodate this move. I’d especially like to thank the organizers of Carolina in the Fall for agreeing to forego their festival next year in order to support our festival. It truly is a team effort in our community.”

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson, son of the late American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel, and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the multi-day event. MerleFest is the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

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