2013 Newsletter Banner
In this Issue
Look Who's Coming to MerleFest!
CASC Now Accepting Entries
"Restless Heart Christmas" at The Walker Center
Follow MerleFest
Join Our Mailing List
Purchase MerleFest Apparel 

If you did not have a chance to go by the official MerleFest gift shop during MerleFest 25 or you wish you had purchased an item and didn't have a chance to, it's not too late!  


Be sure to see the ad below announcing the MERCHANDISE SALE!


Please check out our website at www.merlefest.org and go to the merchandise link to view merchandise and accessories that are still available.      

Tickets on Sale November 13  
Look Who's Coming to MerleFest! 
Initial lineup of artists - including Thursday night performer Charlie Daniels Band, Saturday evening's Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a special all-star tribute to Doc Watson - heralds another stellar year for the festival


Sam Bush - MerleFest 2013 MerleFest, presented by Lowe's and slated for April 25-28, 2013, is proud to announce the music festival's initial lineup. The four-day event, an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans, will once again take place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.


The initial lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers that are the hallmark of the festival. Thursday night's schedule will include North Carolina-native country rocker Charlie Daniels (with the Charlie Daniels Band); on Saturday evening, fans can expect special remembrances of the late Doc Watson, with a performance by the legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who worked with Doc Watson on their classic Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, and a special all-star tribute to Doc, assembled by mandolin virtuoso - and longtime Doc Watson friend - Sam Bush.


Charlie Daniels Band - MerleFest 2013 The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture has written that "Few individuals have symbolized the South in popular culture as directly and indelibly as Charlie Daniels." His iconic rock anthem "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," as well as other classics such as "In America," "Uneasy Rider," "The South's Gonna Do It," "Long Haired Country Boy," "Still in Saigon," "The Legend of Wooley Swamp" and many others are part of a catalog that spans 50 years of record making and represents more than 20 million in sales. About his long and highly successful career, the famed fiddler has said, "I have been blessed with gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, I have appeared many times on network television, even in moving pictures. I'm a member of the Grand Ole Opry and have won multiple awards from The Country Music Association, The Academy of Country Music, The Gospel Music Association and even a Grammy. Ain't God good!!!!" Charlie Daniels' most recent album is Land That I Love.


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - MerleFest 2013The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music, continues to add to their legendary status. With multiplatinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as "Fishin' In The Dark" and "Mr. Bojangles", multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations, the band's accolades continue to accumulate. Their groundbreaking Will The Circle Be Unbroken album - which featured Doc Watson, among other traditional music icons - has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. NGDB's recording of "Mr. Bojangles" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.


"This year's festival will celebrate the life and music of our dear friend Doc Watson, who passed away on May 29," says Ted Hagaman, director of the festival. "For the past 25 years he has been the artistic and spiritual center of this festival, so this year, we will come together as a family to pay special tribute to the man and the musician who meant so much to us all."


MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that Doc Watson referred to as "traditional plus."


"From the beginning, Doc and his wife RosaLee wanted this festival to honor the memory of their beloved son, Eddy Merle," Hagaman continues. "In the many conversations I've had with Doc through the years, he made clear that it was his desire to keep MerleFest as a quality event, with a focus both on family and providing a diverse collection of music. Going forward, it will be our honor to carry on that tradition."


The following are among the artists scheduled to perform at MerleFest 2013:

Richard Watson 

Susana and Timmy Abell 

Alberti Flea Circus 


Glenn Bannerman 

Gregg 'Buffalo' Barfield 

Riley Baugus 

Bayou Diesel 

Matraca Berg 

The Black Lillies 

Blind Boy Paxton 

Bobby and Blue Ridge Tradition

Roy Book Binder 

Laura Boosinger 

Sam Bush 

Calico Moon

Chatham County Line 

Charlie Daniels Band 

T. Michael Coleman

Dehlia Low 

Donna The Buffalo 

Jerry Douglas 

Enter The Haggis 

Tom Feldmann 

French Broad Playboys 

The Greencards 

Mitch Greenhill 

Wayne Henderson 

Orville Hicks 

Bob Hill

David Holt 

The Honeycutters 

The InterACTive Theater of Jef 

Eilen Jewell 

Johnson's Crossroad 

The Kickin Grass Band 

The Kruger Brothers 

Pokey LaFarge 

Jim Lauderdale 

Jack Lawrence 

Jeff Little Trio 

The Local Boys 

Doug MacLeod 

Bill Mathis

Andy May 

Tift Merritt 

Misty River Band 

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out 

Mountain Heart 

Michael Martin Murphey 

Nashville Bluegrass Band 

The Neighbors 

The New Familiars 

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 

Paul's Creek Band 

The Quebe Sisters Band 

Red Molly 

Carol Rifkin 

Peter Rowan 


The Sheets Family Band 

The Sigmon Stringers 

Steve and Ruth Smith 

Chris Smither 

Joe Smothers

Snyder Family Band 

South Carolina Broadcasters 

Kirk Sutphin 

Bryan Sutton 

Sutton, Holt and Coleman 

Patrick Sweany 

Tut Taylor 


Rhonda Vincent & The Rage 

The Waybacks 

Charles Welch

Pete and Joan Wernick 

Ted White

Phil Wiggins & Corey Harris 

The Wild Rumpus 

Tony Williamson 

"This initial lineup shows that the festival will definitely live up to its 'traditional plus' motto, with a strong collection of internationally-known touring artists from many genres, as well as a collection of local North Carolina folk and bluegrass artists," says Steve Johnson, artist relations manager for MerleFest. "And, MerleFest fans know, as the lineup continues to develop in the coming months, it will offer quite a few surprises - let's just say it's going to be a big year!"


"As MerleFest fans have learned, we release up-to-the-minute lineup additions and other festival news through our social media outlets," said Hagaman. "So, staying in touch with us via our electronic newsletter, website (www.merlefest.org), Facebook and Twitter is crucial."


The MerleFest box office will open for 2013 ticket sales on Tuesday, November 13, at 2 p.m. EST. Ticket purchases can be made on the web at  www.merlefest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. With the estimated 90 acts performing on 14 stages during the course of the event, MerleFest is an entertainment value. An early bird ticket discount is available through March 10, 2013.  
Chris Austin Songwriting Contest
Now Accepting Entries
Deadline to Enter: February 19, 2013

The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is now accepting applications from aspiring songwriters via U.S. Mail (P.O. Box 121855, Nashville, TN 37212). Entries may also be submitted through Sonicbids (www.sonicbids.com/chrisaustinsongwritingcontest). The deadline for submissions is February 19, 2013.


Now in its 21th year, the contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of this year's volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy´┐Ż-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale.  


The first round of the CASC competition takes place in Nashville, Tenn., and is narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational. Finalists are then invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place during MerleFest on the campus of Wilkes Community College.


Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $36,000 to 75 deserving students.


To learn more details about the contest, visit


The Walker Center Presents
"Restless Heart Christmas" on November 30
Restless Heart Christmas  

The Walker Center, on the campus of Wilkes Community College, will present "Restless Heart Christmas" on November 30 at 8 p.m. This performance is sponsored by Hardee's.


Legendary country music band Restless Heart will combine songs of the season with their greatest hits to create a wonderful holiday evening to remember. With over 27 years of musical history to their credit, the five original members of Restless Heart continue to thrill audiences with their award-winning talent, showmanship and flawless harmonies on hits including "I'll Still Be Loving You," "Why Does It Have to be (Wrong or Right)," "Bluest Eyes in Texas," and "Dancy's Dream" just to name a few.


Gold became the standard for the group with the release of their self-titled album. Three more gold albums followed along with Grammy, Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music nominations that culminated in Restless Heart being named ACM's Vocal Group of the Year. Restless Heart continues to thrill old and new fans by doing what they do best - appreciating their audiences and having a good time making great music.

A limited number of tickets are available for this performance. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact the Walker Center Box Office at 336-838-6260 or

Volunteer Spotlight
2012-Nov Volunteer - Judith Melton
Judith Melton

Judith Melton attended the first MerleFest in 1988. Judith states, "I have been coming since the very first one when the stage was a flatbed truck and everyone just had blankets to lie on. It's been great watching it grow." Judith's first year as a volunteer was 2009.


She has volunteered at many different locations over the years including photo platform, usher, Little Pickers Family Area, Hospitality and Flattop's Getaway. She also says, "It has been a great experience. I love the music and meeting really nice people. I look forward to it every year, and I try to encourage others to volunteer."


One of Judith's special memories is the peaceful feeling she had, sitting with the breeze blowing in her hair while watching Nickel Creek on the cabin stage with her 15-year-old niece and her best friend. Judith has lots of favorite entertainers, Zac Brown, John Cowan, Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, Doc Watson, Vince Gill and Nickel Creek to name a few.


Judith remembers one time she and her friend were headed back to her campsite after volunteering. It was close to suppertime. They were really looking forward to the cookout and all the music that would be playing that evening. They were talking about it and really not paying much attention, as they were crossing over a creek. Judith saw a big black snake. It didn't look real, she thought someone was playing a trick and just trying to scare some girls at the bathrooms. As they walked by, the snake rubbed against her friend's foot. She jumped and said, "What was that...eeeh!" They both looked back and thought it looked plastic, but then it started slithering and...skidding into the creek. She said it was probably about 5 feet long. "We took off running and screaming. That was no fake snake" says Judith.


Judith lives in Hudson North Carolina, and is in real estate. She grew up around a piano singing gospel songs from a young age. Her husband plays guitar and sings, mostly at church. Her son plays violin and sings at UNC-Charlotte in the opera program. Her hobbies include camping, hiking, traveling and church.

Nov 26 - Dec 10 Sale

11/01/2012 - MerleFest 2013 Vendor Applications Accepted 

11/01/2012 - CASC Mail-in Entries Accepted

11/13/2012 - MerleFest 2013 Opening Day Ticket Sales (2 p.m.)

11/26 through 12/10 - MerleFest Apparel Sale   

02/01/2013 - MerleFest ticket refund deadline 

02/19/2013 - CASC Entry Deadline  

03/10/2013 - Early Bird Ticket Discount deadline 

April 25-28, 2013 - MerleFest 2013


MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College Endowment Corporation and a celebration of "traditional plus" music. Scheduled for April 25-28, 2013, the event is held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Thank you for your support!   


From all of us here at MerleFest
and Wilkes Community College


If you plan to change email addresses, or if you prefer to receive this newsletter at another address, please email us.


 Thank you for reading our newsletter.  

Please tell others about our monthly MerleFest newsletter.
We ask that you consider the environmental impact  
before printing.