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Merlefest

Judges Announced for Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

Niall TonerWilkesboro, NC -- Songwriters Charles Humphrey III, Darrell Scott and Niall Toner will be among the judges that determine the winners of MerleFest 2014’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Now in its 22nd year, the contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale.

MerleFest Joins with Bluegrass Situation for Midnight Jam

MerleFestWilkesboro, NC -- One of the more anticipated events at MerleFest – presented by Lowe’s and slated this year for April 24-27, 2014 – is the Midnight Jam, the Saturday after-hours hootenanny that has produced artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history. This year the Midnight Jam will bear the stamp of The Bluegrass Situation, a popular hub for everything central to the modern roots community.

MerleFest Adds Old Crow Medicine Show to the 2014 Lineup

Old Crow Medicine ShowWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 24-27, 2014, announces the addition of Old Crow Medicine Show to the festival’s Friday evening 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. As previously announced via social media to the festival’s fan base, singer-songwriter Holly Williams will also perform at MerleFest 2014.

MerleFest 2014 to Roll Out First Ever “BanjoRama”

MerleFest BanjoRamaWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 24-27, 2014, has announced the addition of “BanjoRama” – a one-time-only assembly of music’s top banjo players in performance together. The event, created specifically for MerleFest 2014, will be part of Friday’s Watson Stage schedule. MerleFest, a four-day event that is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans, will once again take place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Niall Toner Releases "Burren Backstep" Video

Niall TonerThe Irish Godfather of Bluegrass Music, Niall Toner, continues to entertain and perform between two continents. Music from the Blackstairs Mountains of Ireland blend the Irish flavor and American bluegrass into the Niall Toner sound. A serious follower of the Bill Monroe style of mandolin, the award winning artist will be performing at next year's MerleFest. Toner has released a new video from his Onwards and Upwards album released last year.

MerleFest 2014 Lineup Expanded to Over 130 Artists

Dr. Ralph StanleyWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 24-27, 2014, 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. As in years past, the initial lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers that are the hallmark of the festival. Thursday night’s schedule includes the previously announced country music superstar Alan Jackson, who will showcase his newly released bluegrass album. Another legend - bluegrass icon Dr. Ralph Stanley - will perform on Saturday evening in the Dr. Ralph Stanley All-Star Jam hosted by Jim Lauderdale. Two of bluegrass music’s biggest names, Dailey & Vincent, will be joined by the Statler Brothers’ Jimmy Fortune to deliver a set of that hallowed band’s biggest hits, complete with the deep, rich harmonies for which all three performers are known.

Three Options to Enter Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

Chris AustinWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s, now offers three ways for aspiring songwriters to enter the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. The contest will accept mail-in applications from aspiring songwriters beginning November 1 via U.S. Mail (P.O. Box 121855, Nashville, TN 37212). To enter by mail, visit click here for a downloadable form and instruction. Entries may also be submitted through Sonicbids.
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MerleFest Lineup Features IBMA Award-Winning Artists

Steep Canyon RangersWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 24-27, 2014, introduced a sneak peek to its lineup at International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, and many of the artists on the sneak peek lineup brought home IBMA awards. MerleFest was a sponsor for the North Carolina Bluegrass Pavilion at this year's World of Bluegrass. MerleFest, a four-day event that is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans, will once again take place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Alan Jackson Is First Performer Announced for MerleFest

Alan JacksonWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 24-27, 2014, kicks off its 27th year with the announcement that country superstar Alan Jackson will be part of the festival’s Thursday schedule. MerleFest, a four-day event that is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans, will once again take place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Jackson is the first performer announced for the MerleFest 2014 lineup.

John Cloyd Miller “Cloud of Dust” Places #1 in Bluegrass Category

John Cloyd Miller. Photo by Terry ManierAsheville, NC -- John Cloyd Miller won first place in the 21st annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in the bluegrass category at MerleFest 2013. Miller is a vocalist, guitarist and mandolin player for the Asheville-based band, Red June, a nationally touring acoustic Americana trio that includes his wife, fiddler and vocalist Natalya Weinstein, and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Will Straughan. The winning song, “Cloud of Dust,” appears on Red June’s 2012 release, em>Beauty Will Come.

MerleFest 2013 Announces Winners of Instrument Contests

Michael Ballard and Steven MooreWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest 2013, presented by Lowe’s, held the Doc Watson Guitar Championship and the Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Contest on Friday, April 26. This year's award winning artists were Michael Ballard on guitar and Steven Moore on banjo. Each received an array of prizes. Place winners were also recognized for second and third positions. The Instrument Contests are always an exciting part of the MerleFest experience.

Merlefest 2013 - Another Successful Music Festival

Merlefest Doc Watson JamWilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest, presented by Lowe’s, has come to a close for another year. Early estimates show that, from its start on Thursday, April 25, to its close on Sunday, April 28, aggregate participation over the festival’s four days exceeded 76,000 participants, staying level with last year’s numbers. MerleFest, held on the campus of Wilkes Community College, has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

John Cloyd Miller Captures First Place Bluegrass Award

John Cloyd Miller. Photo by Terry ManierWilkesboro, NC -- One of the annual highlights of MerleFest is the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC). Finalists were selected earlier for this year's annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest 2013. Now in its 21st year, the contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. MerleFest 2013 took place April 25 through 28 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. This year, John Cloyd Miller captured the first place prize in the Bluegrass category in the annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

Chris Austin 2013 Songwriting Finalists Announced

Chris AustinWilkesboro, NC -- One of the annual highlights of MerleFest is the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC). Finalists have been selected for the annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, hosted by MerleFest 2013. Now in its 21st year, the contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. MerleFest 2013 takes place from April 25-28 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Merlefest Honoring Doc Watson Just a Week Away

Doc WatsonWilkesboro, NC -- Preparations are well underway for MerleFest 2013, presented by Lowe’s, which officially begins next Thursday, April 25, and runs through Sunday, April 28, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. When MerleFest kicks off on Thursday afternoon, it will be a bittersweet moment. For the first time in its 26 years, MerleFest will take place without beloved music icon Doc Watson, who passed away on May 29, 2012.

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