If you want to see the big acts perform at MerleFest, you’ll probably want to go to the Watson Stage.
If you are looking for some music to get your toes a-tapping, you’d better make your way to the Dance Stage. And if you want to hear which classic album The Waybacks and friends are performing this year, join your friends at the Hillside Stage.
Most everybody who attends MerleFest knows about those stages. But did you know that some of the best performances of the weekend take place on stages outside the Wilkes Community College campus?
For more than two decades, the MerleFest Outreach Program has been sending musicians from the festival to elementary and middle schools in Wilkes County to perform for students.
Last week, 10 musical acts from MerleFest participated in the outreach program, playing 17 concerts in 17 different schools. Participating artists included Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Jeff Little and Wayne Henderson, Nu-Blu, The Kruger Brothers, The Local Boys, Back Porch Bluegrass, Steve and Ruth Smith, Grassifieds, The Bank Notes and the Misty River Band.
The Kruger Brothers, originally from Switzerland but now making their home in Wilkes County, performed an outreach concert at Central Wilkes Middle School in Moravian Falls early on Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve been performing at MerleFest outreach shows for the past 18 years,” Jens Kruger said. “I always get a kick out of playing at Central Wilkes Middle School because that’s where my daughters went to school.”
The Kruger Brothers — including Jens and Uwe Kruger and Joel Landsberg — performed “People Get Ready,” “Mole in the Ground,” “St. James Infirmary” and “Carolina in the Fall,” among other tunes, for the students.
Traditional dancer Pam Mathis taught the students some dance moves in the school’s gymnasium.
“We were big fans of the music of your area and of Doc Watson long before we moved here,” Jens Kruger told the students. “We had a plan to come to America, play music and raise our families here. And that is what we have done.”
MerleFest ran April 24 to 27 in Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.