NC Musicians Featured at MerleFest

Raleigh, N.C. (April 23, 2018) — The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will sponsor performances by N. C. musicians at MerleFest on April 27 to April 29, including four-time Grammy winner David Holt and Grammy nominee Josh Goforth.

Tony Williamson, renowned mandolin player from Chatham County, will perform on Saturday. He is a recipient of a 2018 N.C. Heritage Award, and was only 15 when he won the first-place “world champion” title for mandolin at the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention.

Many of the musicians performing are from counties that are part of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.

“The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is proud to present musicians from the Blue Ridge Music Trails as part of MerleFest,” said Secretary Susi H. Hamilton. “These musicians are examples of why North Carolina plays such a large role in shaping the bluegrass sound and the story of traditional music in America.”

The Friday concerts kick-off at 3:30 p.m. with Holt and Goforth, followed by singer and songwriter Mark Bumgarner, and 13-year old fiddler Lillian Chase from Weaverville. Cane Mill Road, a bluegrass band from Deep Gap, will close out the day.

Saturday night’s stage concludes when Presley Barker, a 13-year-old from Traphill, N.C. joins the Jeff Little Trio. Earlier this month Barker was on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville with Ricky Skaggs. On Sunday morning, the stage will showcase former and current students and faculty from the N.C. Arts Council’s afterschool Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program.

“Our work to document and sustain musical traditions from North Carolina connects our own citizens, as well as visitors, to the artistry that has flourished over generations in communities across the state,” said Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council.

The Blue Ridge Music Trails Stage will be on The Plaza and is one of 13 stages at Merlefest. Here is the complete schedule:

Friday, April 27:

3:30 p.m.         David Holt and Josh Goforth

4:15 p.m.         Mark Bumgarner and Lillian Chase

5 p.m.              Cane Mill Road

Saturday, April 28:

5 p.m.              Tony Williamson Band

5:45 p.m.         Brandon Lee Adams, Tim Carter, and Mead Richter

6:30 p.m.         Jeff Little Trio with Presley Barker

Sunday, April 29:

10 a.m.            Strictly Strings, former Junior Appalachian Musicians and their instructor

10:45 a.m.       Laura Boosinger, Emma McDowell, and Lillian Chase

Information, maps, and the latest edition of the guidebook, “Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina,” will be available at the Blue Ridge Music Trails table, located across from the MerleFest Shoppes. Learn about the music of the region and places where you can hear it played by visiting

For more information on MerleFest visit: