Wilkesboro, NCâ€“-Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College during four days of warm summer temperatures in late April with a reported attendance of close to 70,000 fans, Merlefest 2009 maintained its reputation as one of the premier U.S. showcases for bluegrass, country and roots music.
Originally started in 1988 to raise funds for gardens on campus honoring the memory of Eddy Merle Watson, son of legendary guitarist Doc Watson and an exceptional player in his own right, Merlefest has become a landmark event that contributes over $17 million to the region.
Fishman, in partnership with First Quality Music, was in attendance again this year to work with leading artists such as Travis Tritt and Jerry Douglas, featured together in a powerful set during Friday nightâ€™s Welcome Home Super Jam, country legend Jim Lauderdale and headliner Emmy Lou Harris, among others.
The company also builds on its longstanding relationship with the bluegrass and country communities at Merlefest while introducing aspiring young players to their pickup, tone shaping and amplification products.
Throughout the festival, Aura Image Processing (on board and in pedal formats), AFX acoustic effects pedals, the new Nashville, Concert Series and Matrix Infinity pickups, and Loudbox acoustic amplifiers generated their fair share of attention on stage and in the Fishman/First Quality tent. Performers and attendees alike also enthusiastically received the popular award-winning Fishman Solo Performance System.
Other leading â€œtraditional-plusâ€? artists to share in the annual communal music get-together on several performance stages and the Hillside Happy Hour included Doc Watson, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, The Duhks, Mountain Heart with Tony Rice, The Grascals, Del McCoury Band, Beausoleil, The Wayback Band, Missy Raines and the New Hip and festival headliners Emmy Lou Harris on Saturday night, and Linda Ronstadt with Los Camperos de Nati Cano, a mariachi band with dancers, on Sunday night.
Asked about the festival, Fishmanâ€™s Director of Marketing & Artist Relations Chris DeMaria said, â€œAs expected, this was a great opportunity to spend time with artists one on one. Itâ€™s also a great way to connect with young playersâ€”some in their teensâ€”who are experiencing Fishman for the first time and developing their opinions. The younger players have a great appreciation of the tradition and genre, but embrace new technologies with more interest and enthusiasm.â€?
Photo caption: Jim Lauderdale at Merlefest with Collings Guitar and Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup.
For more information about Fishman, please call 978.988.9199 or visit www.fishman.com.