Merlefest History

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in Memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and to celebrate ?traditional plus? music.

MerleFest, which began in 1988, is about the Music, Moments, and Memories.

The Music of MerleFest is ?traditional-plus? and Doc Watson himself describes it best: ?When Merle and I started out we called our music ?traditional-plus,? meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play. Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ?traditional-plus?.?

The Moments of MerleFest are those unique experiences that only happen here. It may be two musicians you never expected to see collaborating, a shooting star over The Watson Stage during an evening?s closing set, or that one set that seems to have touched everyone in the audience.
The Memories of MerleFest includes the memory of Eddy Merle Watson, who we honor each day with The Tribute to Merle, and the new memories we create each year we come together to celebrate MerleFest.

MerleFest is produced each year by the Wilkes Community College Endowment Corporation and managed by the staff of the college?s Development Office. The event is the primary fundraiser for Wilkes Community College.

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