Outreach Takes MerleFest to Local Schools

merlefest_large-250Wilkesboro (North Carolina), USA – MerleFest 2006, the 19th annual festival in celebration of the music of the late Merle Watson and his father Doc Watson, 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 performances by MerleFest artists on April 27-28 at 32 different locations.

Artists will appear in all twenty-one Wilkes County K-12 schools, Ashe County High School, Alexander Central High School, Wilkes Development Day School, Montessori Learning School, the Wilkesboro Methodist Church After-School Program, Camp E-Ma-Etu, and several nursing and assisted living facilities.

The Outreach performances, designed to expose students and seniors to different kinds of Americana music live, are not open to the general public.

Some of the artists scheduled to participate in the Outreach Program include Richard Watson & Charles Welch, the Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven, John Cowan Band, Feufollet, David Holt & the Lightning Bolts, Jim Lauderdale & his Bluegrass Band, Chatham County Line, Laura Love Band, the Wilders, the Avett Brothers, the Biscuit Burners, and Darrell Scott. Repeat artists are rotated to different venues than prior years. Every effort is made to match performances to the ages of the audiences. More than 3000 Wilkes County school students also attend MerleFest as part of organized school groups admitted without charge each year on Friday.

Wilkes Community College will present MerleFest 2006 on April 27-30, 2006 on its campus in Wilkesboro, NC. Among those previously announced as joining Doc 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.

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. Wilkes Community College has presented MerleFest since 1988. All bookings are subject to change without notice due to circumstances beyond the festival’s control.

Those with Internet access may acquire their tickets easily by visiting www.merlefest.org.

Those without Internet access may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-343-7857 (US only) or 336-838-6267 (non-US) from 10 AM through 4 PM, EST, weekdays. Tickets may also be ordered by fax (336-838-6263) and mail (MerleFest; P.O. Box 120; Wilkesboro, NC 28697). Advance sales will end at 8 AM on Monday, April 24. Four-day, three-day, and single day general admission tickets will be available at the festival box office, sponsored by Lowe & Son Land Company.

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 Radio; Western Beat Entertainment; WFMX 105.7 FM; Winston-Salem Journal; WNCW Public Radio; WUNC 91.5 FM; and WXII-TV 12.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.