The ‘other’ Doc Watson Music Festival returns

After a six-year hiatus, the Doc and Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove returns next month to the mountains of western North Carolina.

The July 16 festival includes a lineup featuring The Del McCoury Band, Kruger Brothers, and Terry Baucom and the Dukes of Drive. Also on the bill is Charles Welch, one of Doc’s close friends and a first-call collaborator. The event, sponsored by Cove Creek Preservation and Development, will take place on the grounds of the historic Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove, NC. The school, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, also houses the Doc and Merle Watson Folk Art Museum.

The festival began as a local celebration of Doc Watson Day, a smaller, shorter bookend to MerleFest, a world-famous event that Doc inspired in nearby North Wilkesboro, NC. Organizers suspended the event in 2016, so building repairs could be made. A reset was targeted for 2020, but COVID put those plans on the shelf. Now it’s back, 20 years after its founding.

Watson, who died in 2012, won seven Grammy awards and a National Medal of the Arts. He is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. His wife, Rosa Lee, also died in 2012.

More information about the festival and a link to purchase tickets can be found at the festival web site.

Share this:

About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.