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What do Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and Leon Russell all have in common? At one time or another, they’ve all performed on the Watson Stage of MerleFest.

MerleFest, or the Merle Watson Music Festival if you want to get wordy, is the annual four-day music festival held on the campus of Wilkes Community College each spring.

MerleFest was originated as a one-day musical tribute to the late guitarist Eddy “Merle” Watson in 1987. From its humble beginnings with a stage set up on a flatbed truck, it has grown into one of the premiere music festivals in the country.

Styles of music featured at MerleFest include bluegrass, old-time string band, Cajun, Celtic, gospel, blues, country, pop, rock and roll and even some jazz.

An alcohol-free event since its inception, MerleFest features fun and games for kids and even a “Little Pickers” stage.

For more information, call 1-800-343-7857.

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WILKESBORO — With just one week until MerleFest 2018, the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro is buzzing with activity. The festival, presented by Window World, kicks off next Thursday, April 26, at 2:30 p.m. and runs through Sunday, April 29.

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