Last updated: May 31. 2013 7:03PM - 336 Views
Lindsay Craven
Staff Writer

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Twenty-five years have passed since MerleFest had its humble beginnings on tractor-trailer beds on the Wilkes Community College Campus in 1988.

About 76,000 people were in attendance over the four-day festival to hear nearly 100 bands despite frigid temperatures and wet weather Thursday through Saturday.

The festival took place in North Wilkesboro on April 26 through April 29. Each night hosted another big name act and countless lesser known and up and coming musicians.

Doc Watson drew record crowds at all of his performances with people spilling out of every venue that he played hoping to hear a few notes of his guitar.

The Hillside Album Hour continued to grow this year. The tradition celebrated its fifth year at MerleFest 25. The Waybacks hosted the event with special guests Sarah Dugas, Susan Tedeschi, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Jim Lauderdale and more.

The top-secret album was reveled to be “Are You Experienced?” by Jimi Hendrix and the crowd went wild.

The Watson main stage played host to major performers such as Vince Gill, Dailey & Vincent, Donna the Buffalo, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Sam Bush, Los Lobos, The Kruger Brothers, Punch Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Marty Stuart and Alison Krauss.

A large portion of the money raised through the festival this year will go towards helping Wilkes Community College build its automotive technology complex.

MerleFest 26 will return on April 25 through April 28, 2013. You can visit merlefest.org to follow performer announcements and contest schedules for MerleFest 2013.

Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at lcraven@heartlandpublications.com.

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