MerleFest 2013 seeks vendors

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Article Published: Nov. 21, 2012 | Modified: Nov. 21, 2012
MerleFest 2013 seeks vendors

A group of festival-goers picks a few tunes near The Shoppes at MerleFest.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

MerleFest, slated for April 25 to 28, 2013, is now soliciting applications from vendors and artisans interested in participating in the 2013 festival.

“MerleFest prides itself on presenting vendors and artisans offering unique goods, things you don’t see every day,” said Melissa Stanley, events logistics specialist for MerleFest. “In fact, our guests are curious each year to see what vendors are here and what treasures they might find. The distinctive items available in The Shoppes are things that you can’t find in most retail establishments, which prompts some MerleFest fans to start their Christmas shopping early. Our challenge is to keep the surprises coming for our MerleFest shoppers.”

MerleFest is accepting applications from vendors and retail merchants for The Shoppes at MerleFest and from demonstrating artisans and craftspeople for the Heritage Crafts tent. These participants benefit from the opportunity to take part at MerleFest, Stanley said, and they help a nonprofit organization raise funds for Wilkes Community College, as well as helping the overall community impact of the festival.

Festival organizers suggest that anyone interested in participating in The Shoppes at MerleFest or the Heritage Crafts area should visit to review the rules and guidelines in place for vendors and to download an application.

MerleFest will accept applications through Jan. 15, 2013. A committee reviews the applications and makes the selections. Acceptance letters will be mailed to selected vendors in February 2013.

“Many of our vendors come back year after year, so there is camaraderie all around,” Stanley said. “Most of the vendors camp together near their booths, and, at night, they talk about the various places, festivals and events in which they participate. They help one another and share information on opportunities beyond MerleFest. We have one vendor, Sweet Springs Hammock from Sweet Spring, W.Va., that has participated every year since the inception of The Shoppes at MerleFest.”

Vendors must follow specific guidelines put in place by MerleFest. The guidelines have been developed and refined over the years to make The Shoppes run more smoothly for the vendors, MerleFest guests and for the festival, according to organizers.

All vendor tents are 10-foot by 10-foot, and vendors can rent one tent, two adjoining tents or three adjoining tents. Each vendor receives two four-day general admission wristbands for each 10-foot by 10-foot space rented, as well as one parking space close to The Shoppes at MerleFest. Additionally, MerleFest provides the tents, fire extinguishers, trash pickup and any other logistical essentials to setting up the area.

“MerleFest always aims to provide a unique shopping experience by inviting vendors with diverse product selection,” Stanley said. “I strongly encourage anyone with inimitable, unusual or highly sought-after merchandise to consider participating in MerleFest 2013. This year marks our 26th year and is sure to deliver the MerleFest music, moments and memories that we’ve all come to love.”

The MerleFest box office is also now open for 2013 ticket sales. Ticket purchases can be made online at or by calling (800) 343-7857. An early bird ticket discount is available through March 10, 2013.

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson, who died May 29. The festival is a celebration of what Doc Watson called “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles.

The festival hosts more than 90 artists, performing on 14 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

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