MerleFest 2005 Starts Thursday, April 28

Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA – Wilkes Community College will
present MerleFest 2005, the 18th annual festival in celebration of the music
of the late Merle Watson and his father Doc Watson, on its campus in
Wilkesboro, NC on April 28 – May 1, 2005. In addition to those on the Fresh
Faces collection, just a few of the artists joining Doc Watson and Merle’s
son Richard Watson for MerleFest 2005 will include Balfa Toujours; BR549,
Sam Bush; The Chieftains; John Cowan Band; Rodney Crowell; Donna the
Buffalo; the Duhks, Bela Fleck Acoustic Trio featuring Casey Driessen &
Bryan Sutton; Corey Harris; King Wilkie, Alison Krauss & Union Station
featuring Jerry Douglas, Robert Lockwood, Jr.; Loretta Lynn; Del McCoury
Band; Buddy Miller; Allison Moorer, Railroad Earth; Tony Rice; Earl Scruggs;
and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. A reunion of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass
Boys will feature Scruggs, Richard Greene, Bobby Hicks, host Peter Rowan,
and others. The festival will also present two sets of The Chieftains with
guests from the Down the Old Plank Road sessions including Scruggs, Douglas,
Fleck, McCoury, and more.General admission tickets will be available at the gate, starting at 2:30 PM
on Thursday and 8:00 AM Friday through Sunday. Tickets for all four days are
$130, while Friday through Sunday wristbands cost $115. Individual day rates
are $35 for Thursday, $45 Friday, $50 Saturday, and $40 on Sunday. Overall
festival participation, including artists, volunteers, children admitted
free, and outreach, totaled 81,592 for MerleFest 2004. Using guidelines
recommended by the College of Business at Appalachian State University,
MerleFest 2004 had an estimated total regional impact of $13,749,915.

MerleFest will once again share its performers with some 12,000 members of
the local community through the Outreach program. Sponsored by Sprint,
Outreach will facilitate 30 performances by MerleFest artists on April 28-29
at all Wilkes County Schools. Some of the artists participating include Doc
& Richard Watson, Tim O’Brien, Donna the Buffalo, Railroad Earth, John Cowan
Band, Balfa Toujours, the Waybacks, and Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble.
More than 3000 Wilkes County school students will also attend MerleFest as
part of organized school groups admitted without charge each year on Friday.

[Photo: Bela Fleck].