2,000 Campers Expected for MerleFest Festival

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April 18, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Pickin' and grinnin' at MerleFest.

More than 2,000 people will camp at the Wilkesboro Fire Department's campground during the 25th annual MerleFest music festival in Wilkesboro, N.C

The first campers are expected to start arriving today (April 18), the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

The Americana music festival honors the music of Doc Watson and his late son Merle Watson.

The 69-acre property is like a park, fronting the Yadkin River and featuring rolling, wooded hills. The campground is a fundraiser for the retirement account for the town's fire department, which is mostly made up of volunteers.

Campers dubbed the place "Sewerfest" because of its location, and Sewerfest has been a festival within a festival since starting in 1998. People pick and sing at the campground, and shuttle buses deliver people to the gates at MerleFest.

"(MerleFest) needs campgrounds, and this just took on a life of its own," said Sam Call, Wilkesboro utilities director. Firewood is already stacked, and workers are getting things ready.

Among the people who travel long distances to Sewerfest is Kari Makinen of Finland, who builds an ornate guitar each year that's raffled as a fundraiser for the fire department. He's expected to arrive this week.

Festival tents are being set up on the grounds of Wilkes Community College, home of MerleFest.

The lineup at MerleFest includes Doc Watson and Merle's son Richard, Donna the Buffalo, Daily & Vincent, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Darrell Scott, Sam Bush, Los Lobos, and many more

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