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Author Topic: Merlefest  (Read 704 times)
Atlanta_Mark
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« on: May 02, 2005, 02:17:37 AM »

Had a great weekend at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC, camping out (at the sewage treatment facility) with my brother in law. Heard lots of great guitar playing -- Scott Ainslie (has anyone else heard him?), Doc, Bryan Sutton, Jack Lawrence, Tony Rice, Roy Book Binder, David Holt, etc. Plus Sam Bush, Alison Krause, Jerry Douglas - and Chris Theile and Sara Watkins showed up.

Larrivee had a good presence this year. They had guitars for sale in the expo tent, and seemed to get a fair amount of traffic -- they also seemed to have sold a few during the weekend.

I had nosebleed seats, and it was hard to tell what people were playing, but seemed mostly like a lot of Martins and Taylors. I did think I saw a C model Larrivee played by Jordan McConnell of the Duhks -- I ran into him later and he confirmed that it was a C-05 (he told me I could mention it in the forum as long as I said that his other stage guitar is an OM that he built himself -- with nice inlay to boot!)
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Mark T

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Randy_R
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2005, 02:33:55 AM »

I need to plan on going next year, and getting early tickets.
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Randy R., Georgia, USA
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2005, 08:47:46 AM »

I went the first three years or so when they were "capping" the ticket sales at 5 or 6 thousand......from what I understand it's gotten quite huge!!  Had some really cool experiences there (especially back at the Addison Motor Inn after the shows where some pretty heavy hitters were just leaving there doors open and just jamming acoustically to all hours of the night)  Definitely a neat setting.   Do they still do the "Midnight All Star Jam" at the theatre??
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Atlanta_Mark
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2005, 01:00:05 PM »

It has gotten huge, but they have lots of venues. So the main stage, unless you have reserved tix, you are way back and can't see very well (before 5:00 they let us general admission people sit in the reserved seats, so we always got there early and sat in the first few rows until we got kicked out-- caught Donna the Buffalo and the Kreuger Brothers from three-fours rows back this way).

The good things is that the seats aren't reserved, and you can sit real close at the smaller stages. I've been two years and most of my magical moments were at the Creekside stage -- we'd get there a few minutes early for an act, get a seat up front, and stay for three or four sets. We did that on Saturday and saw Jack Lawrence and Bryan Sutton from the fourth row, then moved up to the second row and saw some of the the Duhks jamming with some of the Mammals, stayed for Tim and Mollie O'Brien playing with the Duhk violinist (Chis Theile and Sara Watkins showed up halway through the set), then saw Jim Lauderdale with some of Donna the Buffalo.

So, I guess the answer to the question is that if you stay at the mainstage and don't buy expensive tickets, you'll need binoculars. If you hang around the smaller stages its like a small festival. Another advantage of the smaller stages -- everthing seems to be real rehearsed and packaged at the main stage, but at the smaller stages you get a lot of musicians showing up from other groups, taking audiuence requests, etc. When we we way up close at Creekside we could hear all the stage talk, and we'd hear before a song performers explaining what the chords were in the next song to the musicians who'd just shown up from other groups.

They still have the midnight jam -- I'm just too old and worn out to go. From what I heard the music was great -- the only problem was the scramble when they opened the doors to get good seats (they limit the tix, so everyone got a seat, but there was a scramble to get seats up front).

Fitness1, you'd be proud of me, I did a 5 mile run Saturday morning.

Randy, they don't sell out for Thurs and Sun, so you can buy tix at the gate, but based on the last two years, Saturday is the day to go. There were people selling extra tix at the gate, but Wilkesboro is not exactly on the beaten path and I'd be leery of going up there hoping to buy scalper tix (although my son came up one day and did just that).
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Mark T

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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2005, 02:05:18 PM »

you actually ran while you were attending a festival? :o  I am proud of you!!

I too had my most memorable moments in the intimate settings in the various "tent stages" around the festival.  Although the "shock factor" of seeing the biggies on the mainstage was pretty great back then when the crowd was much smaller.

    I took some of the best concert photos there as well (I got a Peete Seeger classic, Emmylou, lots of Doc... of course, and many others)  

    I'll never forget the Strength in Numbers set on the mainstage one Saturday when I was there.....otherworldly!!  If that wasn't enough, The Tony Rice Unit followed!!!!   I left that night feeling like I should sell all my instruments :lol:  
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Charis SJ Koa/Sitka
Mcknight/Poling GC Koa/Italian
Eastman E10D - Mahogany/Adirondack
Cordoba C9 Mahogany/Euro Spruce



"One small heart, and a great big soul that's drivin"
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