Music In The High Country, NC

Spreading music

Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society to play active role in festivals


Record Editor

Music will reverberate through the foothills over the next few weeks and members of the Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society will play a major role in the festivities.

During MerleFest, set for April 23-26 on the campus of Wilkes Community College, members of the group will host an array of jamming tents.

WAFS participants will also be a big part of ChickenFest, which will be held May 22-24 at The Record Park in North Wilkesboro. There the group will host a picking/music education tent throughout the free-to-the-public festival.

WAFS is made up of mostly local musicians and music aficionados who concentrate on mountain music stylings.

?We want to promote traditional acoustic music and keep the music tradition alive in Wilkes County,? said WAFS Vice President Charles Tesh,

The group has been an integral part of MerleFest for years. Members host three jamming tents. There?s one for bluegrass, one for old-time music and one for ?anything goes,? Tesh said.

These jamming areas will be open from the Monday before the festival begins through the end of the event. ?We?ll have people manning these tents at all times,? Tesh said.

At ChickenFest, Tesh along with WAFS members Keith Watts, Jim England (the Autoharp Man from Alabama), and Betty and Ralph Davis, will head up the ChickenFest Pickin? Tent.

?We?ll have one or two people in tent at all times to lead jams and make sure everything goes right,? Tesh said. ?We?re also going to have some instruments there so kids can come by and pick them up and play them.?

Getting youth involved in music at an early age is important, Tesh said.

?I was 9 when I got my first guitar,? he said. ?Music has always been a big part of my life. Any child who plays an instrument has something they can have the rest of their lives. Music teaches you lessons in life.?

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