One of the many wonderful facets of Merlefest is the various competitions that take place each year during the festival.
Firstly, there is the annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in which there are four categories.
This year’s winners are Love Gone By by Carol Hausner and Colin McCaffrey of Montpelier, Vermont (in the Bluegrass Category), Man of Few Words by Dennis K. Duff of Kuttawa, Kentucky (in the Country Category), Beyond the Rain by Brink Brinkman of Pickerington, Ohio (in the Gospel Category) and Unmarked Pavement by Miles and Letha Costin of Raleigh, North Carolina (in the General Category).
Secondly, there are the three instrumental competitions, one each for mandolin, banjo and guitar. This year’s prize winners are ‚Ä¶.
MerleFest Mandolin Contest
- 1st Place – Bryan McDowell, Canton, North Carolina
- 2nd Place – Jesse Daniel, Pisgah, Alabama
- 3rd Place – Caleb Courtner, Butler, Tennessee
Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Championship
- 1st Place – Seth Taylor, Bryson City, North Carolina
- 2nd Place – Johnathan Dillon, Wirtz, Virginia
- 3rd Place – Owen Piatt, Springfield, Tennessee
Doc Watson Guitar Championship
- 1st Place – Tyler Grant, Nashville, Tennessee
- 2nd Place – Tony Watt, Schenectady, New York
- 3rd Place – Fred Duggin, Nashville, TN
Congratulations to all concerned.
The four-day Merlefest took place on the campus of the Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, North Carolina, from 23 to 26 April. It is hosted by Doc Watson and staged in memory of his son Merle. This year’s attendance has been reported at 70,000.