MerleFest Draws Over 70,000 Fans

merleThey’ve barely finished packing the tents and tearing down the stage and it’s already clear that this year’s Merlefest was as expansive and impressive as ever. Preliminary estimates show that over the festival’s four days (April 23-26) more than 70,000 music fans filled the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina for MerleFest 2009. With the exception of a Friday night squall, the weather was perfect, and despite the tough economy, attendance remained high, with Friday posting the fourth highest Friday numbers in the Festival’s history, and Saturday’s numbers approaching last year’s attendance figures.

“Reports from surveys and interviews with fans tell us that our attendees took advantage of the entertainment value that we take pride in offering every year,” said festival director Ted Hagaman. “With over 95 artists performing on 15 stages over the four days of the festival, in addition to a variety of activities and shopping, there was truly something for everyone.”

MerleFest honors the memory of Eddy Merle Watson and the musical contributions of Doc, Merle and the entire Watson family. The event started in 1988 and serves as the biggest fund-raiser for Wilkes Community College. Performers at MerleFest 2009 included Doc and Richard Watson, Linda Ronstadt with Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Emmylou Harris, Travis Tritt with Jerry Douglas, The Waybacks, The Del McCoury Band, Blue Highway, The Grascals, Dailey & Vincent, Mountain Heart with Tony Rice, Sam Bush, John Cowan, The Greencards, The SteelDrivers, Jim Lauderdale, David Bromberg, Tift Merritt, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, and many more. Additional information about all aspects of Merlefest can be found here.

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