Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

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Cold Mountain Music Festival postponed to Aug. 14-15

This just in from the founders of Cold Mountain Music Festival:

To our Cold Mountain Music Festival, Lake Logan, and Camp Henry families,

In recent weeks, we have stood alongside our nationwide cohort of festival organizers to witness the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic and assess how it would impact our 2020 event schedule. While we originally hoped the situation would be subdued in time for our June gathering, we have also kept a watchful eye on the trajectory of this outbreak and have learned that the likelihood of this occurrence is slim.

In the interest of public safety, the 4th Annual Cold Mountain Music Festival will be postponed until August 14-15, 2020. While we can not yet reveal the exact lineup details, rest assured that we have been able to preserve the majority of originally scheduled artists. The talent team is working diligently to put the finishing touches on the new bill and will be ready to announce next week. Continue reading

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MerleFest announces plan to stream 2012 festival on April 23-26

From the good folks over at MerleFest:

Wilkesboro, N.C. – In lieu of their annual gathering of music fans and musicians from across the globe, MerleFest presented by Window World has announced a rebroadcast of the Watson and Cabin stages from the 2012 MerleFest weekend.

As a thank you to every fan who has attended and supported MerleFest over the years, this broadcast is being presented free of charge. Simply visit and click the live stream link on the homepage to view the broadcast over the course of the originally scheduled MerleFest 2020 weekend, April 23-26.

MerleFest 2012 holds a special place in the history of the festival.  Music legend Doc Watson played the Watson Stage alongside lifelong friends for the final time in 2012.  The love and support for Doc shines bright during these performances that also mark the 25th year of the festival he and others started in memory of Doc’s late son, Eddie Merle Watson. “We are thrilled to be able to bring MerleFest 2012 to our loyal fans during the days that we would normally be celebrating MerleFest 2020,” says festival director Ted Hagaman. “Reliving Doc’s final festival will bring back wonderful music, moments, and memories for all to enjoy. We appreciate Window World for making this happen.”

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Annual Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival 12 postponed until 2021

This isn’t an April Fool’s joke, unfortunately. As the live music festival and concerts cancellations continue to pour in, it breaks my heart to announce that Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival 12 has decided to postpone this year’s event to Memorial Day Weekend 2021.

From the good folks at Rooster Walk:
“After a lot of careful thought, research and discussion, Johnny, William and the Rooster Walk board of directors have made the very difficult decision to postpone RW12 until Memorial Day weekend of next year (May 27-30, 2021). We are heartbroken that we won’t get to see you at Pop’s Farm this spring, but ultimately the health and safety of everyone involved with the festival is our top priority. Like everyone, we’re hoping daily life will be getting back to “normal” by the late summer/fall, but we’ve decided there are too many unknowns, and therefore too much risk, to try to put on Rooster Walk later this year. We are hoping to host several live concerts at Pop’s in the late summer/fall, with on-site camping, if it’s safe to do so. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for updates on that front.

“This decision will have some very tough financial consequences on our nonprofit company, but we are determined to survive 2020 and put on our best festival ever in 2021. We know everyone is hurting right now, and we respect the fact that some patrons may NEED a refund. For those who can make do without asking for a refund, we humbly ask that you do us that HUGE favor because it might be the difference in our ability to put on a couple fall events instead of strictly going into “survival mode.”

“If you’ve already bought a ticket to Rooster Walk 12, you have three options related to your ticket purchases:

1) If you’d like to keep your tickets to use at Rooster Walk in 2021, you don’t need to do anything. All tickets already sold will be honored at Rooster Walk in 2021, even if ticket prices increase in the future.

2) If you need a refund, email with REFUND in the subject line by 5 pm EST Friday, April 17th, and tell us which tickets you are requesting a refund for. We will refund these tickets in full, less the service fees charged by the ticket company.

3) If you’d like the ticket money to be considered a donation to us, please shoot an email to with DONATION in the subject line. We are a 501c3 nonprofit, and we will send you a tax donation letter for your records.

“Thank you for your support. We’re lucky to have such a strong festival family! We look forward to seeing you at upcoming events.”


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Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival cancels Spring 2020 festival

More sad news as music festivals continue to cancel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, this time from the good folks over at Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival:

CHATHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA — “The time has come to make a tough decision regarding the 18th Annual Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance.

“As you all know, Shakori Hills is a very special place that brings together music and dance fans twice a year to celebrate life and art. Therefore, you know how painful it is to announce the cancellation of the Spring 2020 festival due to the coronavirus.

“Carol Woodell, board president of the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center (SHCAC), would like you to know, “In the interest of slowing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and with particular concern for the health of our festival family, the performers, staff, and our Chatham County community, it is with deep sadness that we are canceling our Spring festival,” said Carol Woodell, board president of the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center.

“The SHCAC is also cancelling all other programs until further notice, including all Road to Shakori shows, the Junior Appalachian Musicians classes, and multiple voice and art classes.”

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Rooster Walk 12 announces festival is still on for May 21-24 for now

After the sad announcement earlier today that MerleFest 2020 is cancelled, this happy news is just in from the good folks over at the Rooster Walk 12 Music & Arts Festival set for May 21-24, 2020, at Pop’s Farm, located between Martinsville and Danville, Virginia:

“The Rooster Walk Family has been closely monitoring news and government reports concerning the Coronavirus disease. We have been in close communication with Virginia Department of Health officials, and will continue to hold an open dialogue with them in the coming days and weeks.

With Rooster Walk still more than two months away, there’s no need to make an immediate, final decision on the fate of this year’s festival. As such, we are currently proceeding with our plans and hope to host Rooster Walk 12 at Pop’s Farm from May 21-24, 2020. However, we are going to postpone our final band announcement, which was previously scheduled to be released on March 18th. If the festival goes on as scheduled, we will implement expanded safety measures on-site, as suggested by state and federal health organizations, such as extra hand washing & hand sanitizing stations, and extra staffers to sanitize public areas during the festival (tables, door handles, etc.). In addition, we will encourage anyone who is sick, or feels that they may be getting sick, to stay home and not attend the event.

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Consider this before cancelling: MerleFest has more than $12 million regional economic impact

WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA —  MerleFest organizers are agonizing over whether to cancel the music festival that attracts some 80,000 Americana fans honoring the legacies of the late, great Doc and Merle Watson. The deliberations are in direct response to Gov. Roy Cooper’s Thursday announcement about limiting crowds to fewer than 100 to stop the spread of coronavirus.

MerleFest officials wrote on the website Thursday: “We will be issuing an official statement concerning MerleFest 2020 by the close of business on Friday, March 13. Thank you for your patience and support.”

In the meantime, let’s take a look at the economic impact this music festival, which for the past 30 years has acted as the unofficial kick off to the music festival season, has on the region, keeping in mind this does not include music and merchandise sales for the artists, etc.

In 2019, MerleFest reported the following economic impact on the Wilkes Community College; Wilkesboro; and surrounding Wilkes County.

For the uninitiated, WCC closes down its campus during the last full week of April to become home to MerleFest.

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MerleFest to host its 20th year of Acoustic Kids Showcases in 2020

From the good folks over at MerleFest:

WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA — Over the past two decades, hundreds of young musicians have taken part in the Acoustic Kids programming at MerleFest presented by Window World. This year—the showcase’s 20th anniversary—young musicians from the MerleFest audience will once again step on stage and perform in Andy May’s Acoustic Kids Showcases. Some participants are just learning to play their instrument, some play just for the fun of it, and some go on to international renown. Put on by long-time music educator and accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Andy May, Acoustic Kids is open to any musicians ages 16 or younger who register online before March 15.

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Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes to kick off NCMA 2020 Concert Series

From the good folks at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) :

RALEIGH — Summer concerts and movies have been a North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) tradition for two decades, and we’re excited to launch another season of great music and entertainment. Our venue—the Joseph M. Bryan, Jr., Theater in the Museum Park—is situated in the heart of the Museum campus amid gardens, meadows, woodlands, and sculpture.

Presented with Cat’s Cradle, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes will perform at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Nü Mangos will open the show. Continue reading

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MerleFest, IBMA favorites Scythian return to Lincoln Theatre on Feb. 27

Raleigh, put on your dancing shoes because the boys of Scythian are coming back to town on Thursday, Feb. 27.
They have rocked the dance tent at the annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for years, kept First Night Raleigh attendees warm and festival goers on their feet as perennial favorites at MerleFest and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, among many others.
Named after Ukrainian nomads, Scythian (pronounced sith-ee-yin) plays immigrant rock with thunderous energy, blending Irish-Gypsy-American string-rock, clever storytelling, catchy songwriting and humor, beckoning crowds into a barn-dance rock concert experience.
These Celtic rockers will bring their all-ages, high-energy show back to Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre, 126 E. Cabarrus St. Tickets can be purchased at this link. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Chapel Hill singer-songerwriter Jonathan Byrd will take the stage before Scythian. Byrd has been called “a folk singer with the heart of a rock ‘n’ roll band.” Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.”

Scythian features tunes with gypsy, Celtic, bluegrass and Americana influences just in time to provide an appropriate warm up for St. Patrick’s Day. The band’s entertaining stage presence, band camaraderie and audience interaction captivates from the first note. Powerful vocals, fiddle, guitar, accordion, upright bass, drums are just a taste of the myriad instruments the quartet brings to its raucous stage causing iHeart Radio to state, “Scythian has reinvented folk rock in America.” And The Washington Post has called Scythian, “Washington D.C.’s most energetic and eclectic band.”