On May 1, 2021, MerleFest, presented by Window World, will begin accepting online applications for its popular volunteer program. MerleFest is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans that takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C. MerleFest 2021 will be held on September 16 – 19, 2021. Volunteers may choose if they would like to work a specific number of days or the entire four-day festival. In exchange for working a four to five-hour shift, volunteers will receive free entry into the festival for that day, free volunteer parking and shuttle, and a 10% discount on camping at the River’s Edge Campground. Those who are interested in volunteering can apply online at merlefest.org/volunteer.
Volunteers are vital to the festival and often travel from around the world, making their work at MerleFest an annual event. However, positions are limited and do fill early, so those interested are encouraged to apply quickly. In addition to being an exciting opportunity to experience a world-renowned festival of music, moments, and memories, the vast network of volunteers who support MerleFest also help make the festival a highly successful fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. Volunteers work on campus and get to enjoy the buildings and gardens that the monies raised through MerleFest make possible.
Denna Foster Parsons, MerleFest’s volunteer coordinator, urges music fans to consider the MerleFest volunteer program. “Volunteering is a great way to give back. Your support is a vital part of what makes MerleFest a huge success. Walking on campus we hope you feel the excitement in the air and know that you are becoming a part of a great cause and an exciting weekend. Making new friends, seeing old friends, and having a memorable experience is what volunteering is all about. At the end of the day, you feel like you have made a difference and been a part of something really special!”
On June 10th, MerleFest will host the 2021 MerleFest Artist Announcement Celebration live stream. Beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern, the 2021 festival’s full artist lineup will be announced, tickets will officially go on sale, health and safety protocols will be covered, and the show will feature a nostalgic look back at MerleFests past. Be sure to subscribe to MerleFest’s YouTube channel and social media accounts for up-to-date information ahead of the Artist Announcement Celebration.
MerleFest, presented by Window World, is now accepting applications from vendors for The Shoppes at MerleFest, as well as artisans and craftsmen who wish to be featured in the Heritage Crafts tent. Those interested in participating in The Shoppes at MerleFest or the Heritage Crafts area may download an application and review the rules and guidelines at www.merlefest.org/vendors/. MerleFest will accept applications through May 31, 2021.
MerleFest will be accepting entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC) from now until June 15, 2021. CASC is one of the most acclaimed songwriting contests in roots and Americana music and has a reputation for launching careers as well as drawing attention to important new talent. The contest is split into four genre-based categories including bluegrass, general, gospel, and country. First through third place winners will be chosen in each category at MerleFest 2021.
Now in its 29th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest at merlefest.org/CASC. All entries will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is June 15, 2021. Finalists will be invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place Friday, September 17, during MerleFest. First-place winners will receive $1,000 cash and a performance slot at MerleFest.