Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Blue Ridge Music Trails Sponsors N.C. Musicians on Stage at MerleFest

Apr 18, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will sponsor musical performances at MerleFest April 27 - 29, including performances by 2018 North Carolina Heritage Award recipient Tony Williamson, and teen guitarist Presley Barker, who brings new life to roots music.

The line-up of musicians from the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina will perform on The Plaza, one of 13 stages for the four-day music festival. MerleFest is considered one of the premier music festivals in the country.

“The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is proud to present musicians from the Blue Ridge Music Trails as part of MerleFest,” said Secretary Susi H. Hamilton. “These musicians are examples of why North Carolina plays such a large role in shaping the bluegrass sound and the story of traditional music in America.”

Blue Ridge Music Trails is a project of the North Carolina Arts Council, in collaboration with the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The stage celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Arts Council.

“Our work to document and sustain musical traditions from bluegrass to African American is a way to connect citizens and visitors to the unique artistic practices that have flourished over generations in communities across the state,” said Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council.

The Blue Ridge Music Trails concerts kick off Friday at 3:30 p.m. with a performance by four-time Grammy Award winner David Holt and Grammy nominee Josh Goforth. On Saturday, Tony Williamson, renowned mandolin player from Chatham County, will perform. A recipient of a 2018 N.C. Heritage Award, Williamson was only 15 when he won the first-place “world champion” title for mandolin at the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention.

Saturday night’s stage concludes when Presley Barker, a 13-year-old from Traphill, N.C., joins the Jeff Little Trio. Earlier this month Barker was on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. with Ricky Skaggs.

Here is the complete schedule for the Blue Ridge Music Trails on The Plaza:

Friday, April 27:

3:30 p.m. David Holt and Josh Goforth

4: 15 p.m. Mark Bumgarner and Lillian Chase

5 p.m. Cane Mill Road

Saturday, April 28:

5 p.m. Tony Williamson Band

5:45 p.m. Brandon Lee Adams, Tim Carter, and Mead Richter

6:30 p.m. Jeff Little Trio with Presley Barker

Sunday, April 29:

10 a.m. Strictly Strings, former Junior Appalachian Musicians and their instructor

10: 45 a.m. Laura Boosinger, Emma McDowell, and Lillian Chase

“Music is a living tradition in the mountains of North Carolina, and we look forward to seeing everyone at MerleFest,” Secretary Hamilton said.

Information, maps and the latest edition of the guidebook, “Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina,” will be available at the Blue Ridge Music Trails table, located across form the MerleFest Shoppes. Learn about the music of the region and places where you can hear it performed by visiting

For more information on MerleFest visit:

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