Merlefest 2023 Wrap-Up

by Jamie Latty

We survived Merlefest 2023 and it was wonderful to be back! It was a little wet, but it was still a fantastic time listening to great music, catching up with Artists, and seeing old and new friends.

Merlefest is always such a special event. For those of you who have been there, you know what I am talking about. For those of you who haven't, it is truly a magical festival.

Set on the expansive grounds of Wilkesboro Community College in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Merlefest was established in 1988 in memory to Merle Watson, son of the legendary Doc Watson. If you talk to attendees of the inaugural event, they will fondly recall the flatbed trailer stage and the celebration of traditional music!

One of the cool things about Merlefest is that you never know who you will meet! Over the course of the weekend, we teamed up with our friends the Chapman's at Acoustic Music Shoppe, to perform live on the fly interviews with the likes of Dom Flemmons, Wes Corbett, Henhouse Prowlers and the ever-wonderful Alison Brown. 


Wilkesboro is, of course, home to the Kruger Brothers who performed multiple times over the weekend, including leading a very special tribute performance to the music of Doc Watson, in honor of what would have been his 100th birthday. 


Fast forward to 2023 and Merlefest celebrated its 35th birthday, welcoming thousands of music fans to immerse themselves in back-to-back performances, spanning 12 stages over 4 days. We witnessed The Avett Brothers, Marcus King, Del McCoury and Sam Bush among many others put on fantastic sets! 


However, aside from these magical musical memories, the real fun comes from meeting everyone who comes in. So many of you visited the booth to try some banjos, buy some picks, or simply share your memories of playing your Deering banjos. So if you stopped by the booth, we would like to say thank you and it was wonderful to meet you! 


The lineup for 2024 will be announced in November, so in the meantime enjoy these performances and if you have ever been, share your Merlefest memories below! 


Kristin Scott Benson chooses the Deering Golden Series banjos
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