A few weeks ago, as April quietly turned into May, we packed the Ford F150 and headed toward the Tennessee hills, driving straight down the Blue Ridge Parkway, into the piedmont of Western North Carolina for the "traditional plus" music festival known as Merlefest. The Appalachian music event of the year, founded by bluegrass legend, Doc Watson, in memory of his son, Merle, is held annually amongst the wooded backdrop surrounding the campus of Wilkesboro's local community college. The fest has blossomed into one of the south's largest productions in its genre, becoming a retreat for fans and neighbors on the last weekend of April to witness hundreds of their favorite bands play anything from ole-timey tunes to americana-roots, alt-country pop to hillbilly-dance, country, bluegrass, and gospel.
We didn't know what were in for. I was imagining Baby Boomers wearing tie-dye overalls, barefoot, dancing with mandolins and banjos that were carried over from their RV camp sites down the road. There was some of that, but, mostly, the experience was sweet and nostalgic and safe. We made some friends, sold some straps, and enjoyed watching John Prine under the stars.
We had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Price, a musician and photographer from Raleigh. Check out his photos from Merlefest below. Find more of Jon's work on his website and be sure to follow him on all things social!