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How Sweet It Is

Article Published: Jun. 30, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
How Sweet It Is

14th annual MusicFest N' Sugar Grove.

As summertime lingers in the High Country, families and friends of North Carolina culture look forward to the 14th annual MusicFest N' Sugar Grove.

Presented by Cove Creek Preservation and Development, the festival will be held on Friday, July 8, and Saturday, July 9, at the Historic Cove Creek School.

Sharing the stage with flat-picking legend Doc Watson this year are The Kruger Brothers, Shannon Whitworth, The Carolina Chocolate Drops and many more.

Festival-goers will also see Sweetbriar Jam, a youth ensemble with professional talent, as well as artists who are new to the festival, including returning favorites like the Cockman Family, Upright & Breathin' and the Elkville String Band.

New to this year's festival is The Mountain Times Pickin' Parlor, where anyone can pick and grin.
"Bring your instruments, whatever you play, and we'll get you on stage and get you heard," Red, White and Bluegrass's John Tester said, adding that the Pickin' Parlor will be emceed by members of Surefire and Carolina Crossing.

The old student lunchroom of the former Cove Creek School has been transformed into a spacious room where visitors can pick on their own instrument or join in a jam with others. There's also plenty of room for those who want to watch friends, family and community members strut their stuff.

The old school is also home to the Doc and Merle Watson Folk Art Museum.

"We still want to recognize Doc," said Nan Greene, who works with the museum. "He is great, and so is our community."

Watson, known for his humble nature, would agree, but only on the community's behalf.

"There's no greater pleasure than reception from an audience that says, 'We love you,'" Watson said in a previous interview. "An audience here is as good as you get. If they love you and want to hear you play, I can't think of any other way to express it."

He'll express it on both Friday and Saturday, when he performs with grandson Richard Watson and longtime friend Charles Welch.

Leading up to Watson's performances is a schedule packed with so much music that one stage simply would not do. Apart from the Main Stage, the Solar Stage - powered by solar energy - is making its MusicFest return. See the adjacent schedule for more details.

Advance tickets cost $15 for Friday and $20 for Saturday and are available at Boone Drug (Deerfield, Foscoe), Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Cove Creek Store (Sugar Grove), Historic Cove Creek High School, Ashe Arts Council (West Jefferson) and the Mountain City Welcome Center (Mountain City, Tenn.).

Tickets are available at the gate for $20 on Friday and $25 on Saturday, though special group rates are available. Children 12 and under are admitted free with an adult. Gates open at 10 a.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday.

For more information, call (828) 297-2200 or visit

The Lineup

FRIDAY, July 8

Main Stage
10:50 - 11:30 a.m. Carolina Crossing
11:40 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Pete and Kim McWhirter & the Doc Hill Bluegrass Band
12:30 - 1:15 p.m. Dave Haney and Lisa Baldwin
1:25 - 2:10 p.m. Rye Holler Boys
2:20 - 3:05 p.m. Teacher's Pets
3:15 - 4 p.m. Spirit Fiddle
4:10 - 4:55 p.m. Amantha Mill
5:05 - 5:50 p.m. Boss Hawg
5:55 - 6:40 p.m. Dinner Break
6:45 - 7:40 p.m. Shannon Whitworth
7:50 - 9 p.m. Kruger Brothers
9:10 - 10:25 p.m. Doc Watson, Richard Watson & Charles Welch
10:25 - 11 p.m. MusicFest Jam

Solar Stage
11 - 11:40 a.m. Sound Traveler
11:50 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Mountain Laurels
12:40 -1:20 p.m. Eli Snuggs
1:30 - 2:10 p.m. New River Boys
2:20 - 3 p.m. Upright & Breathin'
3:10 - 3:50 p.m. Brian Swanson
4 - 4:40 p.m. Trevor McKenzie
4:50 - 5:30 p.m. Polly & the Posse
5:40 - 6:30 p.m. Major 7's
6:40 - 7:20 p.m. Sweetbriar Jam


Main Stage
10 - 10:40 a.m. Dollar Brothers
10:50 -11:30 a.m. Swing Guitars
11:40 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Sweetbriar Jam
12:30 - 1:15 p.m. Rye Holler Boys
1:25 - 2:10 p.m. ETSU Bluegrass
2:20 -3:05 p.m. Snyder Family
3:15 - 4 p.m. Spirit Fiddle
4:10 -4:55 p.m. Cockman Family
5:05 - 5:50 p.m. Elkville String Band
5:55 - 6:40 p.m. Andy Owens Songwriters Showcase featuring Polly Lorien, Neil Cribbs, and Leon Nelson
6:45 - 7:40 p.m. Kruger Brothers
7:50 -9:20 p.m. Carolina Chocolate Drops
9:30 - 10:45 p.m. Doc Watson, Richard Watson, and Charles Welch
10:45 - 11 p.m. MusicFest Jam

Solar Stage
11 - 11:40 a.m. Eli Snuggs
11:50 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Uphill Both Ways
12:40 - 1:20 p.m. Teacher's Pets
1:30 - 2:10 p.m. Dave Haney and Lisa Baldwin
2:20 - 3 p.m. Mountain Laurels
3:10 - 3:50 p.m. Brian Swanson
4 - 4:40 p.m. Major Sevens
4:50 - 5:30 p.m. Pete and Kim McWhirter & the Doc Hill Bluegrass Band
5:40 - 6:30 p.m. Surefire

Doc & Merle Watson Folk Art Museum Performances
3 - 4 p.m. Amantha Mill

Musician Workshop in Red Raider Room of the Historic Cove Creek School
2:15 - 3 p.m. Learning Through Song with Lisa Baldwin and Dave Haney
4 - 5 p.m. Bob Kogut and the Kruger Brothers

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