(To see the larger-view slide show, just single-click on any one image)
Yes indeed! Music, Moments, Memories, no denying it. All 3 of these descriptions resounded at the annual Merlefest held the weekend of April 26-29 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC. Everyone should have this much fun!
As a second-year photo student enrolled at Randolph Community College, I was fortunate enough to requisition photo equipment from the lab (unlike anything I own) and take my best shot(s) at the festival. In addtion, after several email conversations with a representative of the Merlefest/college organization, I proudly walked around with a media pass which provided access to the interview tent as well as stage front! Talk about the stars being lined up (figuratively, and literally re: the many musicians)!!
It’s funny though. I had all this gear and I believe there are some good shots here, but throughout Friday and Saturday, both the cooperative weather and astounding music kept me away from the interview tent most of the time (BUT STAY TUNED, more about the interview of a lifetime for the “Part 2” post). And, those who know me well wouldn’t believe this, but I actually DIDN’T shoot photos every minute of every hour. It was too easy to just sit on the lawn, listen and soak it all in – which is what it’s all about in the first place, right?
Here are a few of the bands I caught and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s impossible to get to all 13 stages at any given time, so I still missed an awful lot of talented musicians. Anyway, click on their sites or listen to some iTunes clips when you get a chance.
From Toronto, Enter the Haggis, is a roots/rock band who were extremely engaging, as the members brought many instruments to the stage: fiddle, bagpipes, mandolin, accordion, trumpet and ukelele in addition to guitar, drums, and bass.
The Greencards, a 4-piece band (2 members, Kym Warner and Carol Young from Australia) who’ve toured the states with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. They’ve been labeled as a progressive bluegrass group, but also Irish folk, gypsy and rock. Although I missed part of their set, I quickly became a fan. (Note: Kym and Carl Minor played later as a duo and rocked the house!)
Lost Bayou Ramblers, from Lafayette, Louisiana – just love, love, love when a fiddle and accordion come together for a cajun reel. Great music material (and I like the layout of their web site as well – different).
Peter Rowan & the Free Mexican Airforce – as a bluegrass singer/songwriter, Peter’s a grammy-award winner and 6-time nominee. He started playing folk and blues in the Boston area, and with a career spanning 5 decades, he currently spends his time playing in 3 different bands!
The Waybacks. That is all. I’m hooked, enough said! My brother turned me on to one of their songs, but I never got around to purchasing anything in iTunes, as their music varies so much (which may explain why I had difficulty trying to define what I wanted). Their sets at the festival clinched it for me.