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MerleFest 2006 Starts Thursday, April 27

merlefest_large-250Wilkesboro (North Carolina), USA – Wilkes Community College will
present MerleFest 2006, the 19th 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 27 – 30, 2006.

Among those previously announced as joiningDoc Watson and Merle’s son Richard Watson for MerleFest 2006 are Rory Block; David Bromberg Quartet; Alison Brown Quartet; Sam Bush Band; Guy Clark; John Cowan Band; Jerry Douglas Band; Béla Fleck & The Flecktones; Emmylou Harris; Hot Tuna; Robert Earl Keen; The Lee Boys; Laura Love Band; Nickel Creek; John Prine; Tony Rice Unit; Peter Rowan; Darrell Scott; Mike Seeger; Pete Seeger; Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers; Gillian Welch; and The Waybacks featuring special guest Bob Weir of the Dead.

MerleFest will also welcome the Woody Guthrie tribute Ribbon of Highway Endless Skyway, along with individual performances by tour members Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmy LaFave, and Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion.

For a complete list of MerleFest 2006 performers, visitwww.merlefest.org.

General admission tickets will be available at the gate, starting at 2:30 PM on Thursday and 8:00 AM Friday through Sunday. General admission tickets for all four days are $145, while Friday through Sunday wristbands cost $125. Individual day rates are $35 for Thursday, $45 Friday, $50 Saturday, and $40 on Sunday.

Overall festival participation, including ticketed participants, artists, school groups, volunteers, children admitted free and community outreach, totaled 80,104 for MerleFest 2005. Using guidelines recommended by the College of Business at Appalachian State University, MerleFest 2005 had an estimated total regional impact of $14,373,818.25. Over its first 18 years, MerleFest has
contributed $5.7 million to Wilkes Community College.

More than a week before its April 27 start, MerleFest 2006 had received ticket orders from 48 states and 12 foreign countries. Since July 1, 2005, MerleFest 2006 had received 170,455,782 impressions in more than 900 published articles. The previous MerleFest record for an entire year was 100,844,019. One hundred eight radio stations in 18 states and Canada participated in MerleFest
2006 promotions. Including media sponsorships with that total, MerleFest 2006 bartered for $222,000 worth of radio airtime, magazine, website, newspaper, TV and cable TV advertising. Mvyradio.com and Wilkes Community College station WSIF-FM 90.9 will broadcast live from MerleFest.

For the first time, www.festivalink.net will be offering sales of live downloads and CDs from MerleFest 2006.

Major MerleFest 2006 sponsors include BluegrassCountry.org; Burger King; C&J LP Gas Company/G&B Energy; Cedar Creek Custom Case Shoppe/TKL; Charter Communications; Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock; Collings Guitars; Curtis Media; Deering Banjo Company; First Quality Musical Supplies; GHS Strings; Gibson Musical Instruments; Hardees/Dermox; Homespun Tapes Ltd.; iBluegrass & The
Acoustic Network; J D’Addario & Co; John Pearse Strings; Knee Deep in Bluegrass; Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouses; mvyradio.com; Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC; Sprint; Stelling Banjo Works; Sugar Hill Records; Taylor Guitars; Tyson Foods, Inc.; WBRF-FM 98.1; Western Beat Entertainment; WFMX 105.7 FM; Winston-Salem Journal; WNCW Public Radio; WUNC 91.5 FM; and WXII-TV 12.

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