Merle Fest and More!

It’s been an event filled week since arriving home from Simple Goods! Lots of fun music jams and concerts in around the area. But the highlight was the 29th anniversary of Merle Fest in Wilkesboro, NC. It was founded in 1988 by “Doc” Watson, in memory of his son – Eddy Merle Watson. Filling 13 stages across a college campus and bringing in 75,000 people this year – it’s quite an experience!

There is also a tent filled to the brim with anything a musician could ever want, a tent filled with hundreds and hundreds of CD’s and soft goods from all your favorite acts playing this year ( and some other favorites too,) a dance tent, tons of food vendors and so much more!

This was one stage – where the Avett Brothers were playing – and this is only a teeny fraction of those 75,000 people!

Merle fest

The first stop was to see my favorites – The Earls of Leicester. By now you guys are well acquainted with them! We had front row seats and they did not disappoint!

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Later that afternoon several musicians that have been attending since the beginning played a reunion tribute to “Doc” Watson. This was simply – A M A Z I N G !!  Sam Bush on mandolin, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Johnny Warren on fiddle, Bela Fleck on banjo, Bryan Sutton on guitar, and Mark Schatz on bass.

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This is a huge stage so they have these great big screens on either side. In my video I tried to show both the stage and a close up on the screen so you can really see how incredible these guys are!

Bela Fleck doesn’t typically sing, so this moment in time is priceless! Add in some good ole musician fun and it doesn’t get any better than this clip! There is no doubt the guys have just as much fun as the audience at Merle Fest!

While folks wait for the performers on the big stage, they have other performers off to the side playing on the front porch in this amazing, early log cabin.

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After lots more stops, good shopping in the music and merchandise tents, plus lots of good food – the final act of the day was an almost private concert for just a handful of us by Charlie Cushman and Johnny Warren at the IBMA tent.

I’m already counting the days until next year !

As for news from around the farm, some of you know from my FaceBook post that a new colt was born on Easter! These are the photos from his first few hours:

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This young calf was memorized by the little fella – she stood outside the barn and watched him for nearly an hour.   blog foal 2

These pics were taken of him today. He is growing up! Sorry for the bad photography! It’s hard to get a good photo in the log barn with the sun streaming in between the logs. (Or that’s my excuse anyway!)

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He’s very friendly and super curious!

I wanted to share a photo of our youngest reader with ya’ll! A lot of you know our girl Sherrie Hinson – she helps out in our booth at the Days of the Pioneer Antique show and this is her precious granddaughter – Lauren!

Lauren 1

Let’s see … what else has been happenin’ ?  We had some good help on the log cabin this past week – Lynn and Ruth Surbrook came down from Michigan and they got all the floor joists up – twice! Well, only twice in the kitchen! ha! Yes, I changed my mind after the first set went in! We found some bigger posts that would fit beautifully so after a few more hours of work – we have some pretty awesome beams in the kitchen!  They put in lots of hours and also got all the wiring pulled! Yipppee for progress! I was sad to see them go – but they’ll be back to help again later in the summer.

That’s about it for the news out of the holler this week! Drop me a line and let me know what’s going on in your neck of the woods! Can you believe tomorrow is May 1st already?


10 thoughts on “Merle Fest and More!

  1. Hi Jill, boy you’ve really been putting the Miles on under your belt. All your travels sound amazing, I enjoy reading your blog.

    Well I lost my Lois last Monday, she was 20. I’m devastated to say the least however so blessed to have had her for so many years. I was 46 when I found her at the shelter, how time vaporizes. The house and our hearts have a huge void, I still expect to see her in one of her beds. Maggie is really lost without her, Mags is 16 and Lois was her nurse for so many years. So now I’m down to 8 loving paws, I’m not adding any others right now. Maggie is in her last phase of life, sensitive and no need for upsets right now. Perhaps when she goes I’ll consider a buddy for Levi. The new normal sucks but that’s the cycle of life. I told Lois I would find her again one day and she then she closed her eyes.

    I wanted you to know since you met her when you visited us several years ago.

    The new colt is amazing!

    Stay safe, your KC buddy.

    Tom Pryor Sent from my iPhone



    1. Oh Tom, my heart aches for you and Maggie and Levi. I know there is such a big void in the house now – that Lois’ sweet personality filled with such love. I’m in prayer for your beautiful heart my friend – I love you dearly!


  2. Ohhhh, I just LOVE Merlefest!! My daughter and I went a few years ago and heard Gillian Welch, Alyson Krauss, and so many others both known and unknown to me at the time. It was a day of the best ever music down there in that Holler of the mountains! What a gorgeous place for a music festival.

    And what a handsome boy that new colt is with his big blazed face!

    Plus, your progress on the cabin is very exciting. It must be such a joy to see it come together when you are standing right there and taking it all in. I can’t wait to see it all finished. Aunt Corey would be so pleased and proud!

    I loved the new Summer magazine and all the home tours. Plus, I was fascinated to learn more about the history of agricultural fairs. They are always a lot of fun to visit and see all of the local and regional prize animals and exhibits. In addition, I love the other additions like the Diary, the RECIPES@!, all of the ads, and well pretty much everything! LOL!! Please tell Denise McCamy that her Simple Blessings page each time is always just the best. After reading your letter, I immediately go to her page. She always seems to just say what is perfect for the season too.

    I am definitely going to try the bread pudding recipe soon as it looks easy and it is one of my very favorite desserts. I do love how you have it all photographed as well.

    Have a great week!


    1. Oh you’re fortunate Winnie! I would love to see Gillian Welch! She is in my top fave three female artists! One day I will see her and David Rawlings together! THANK YOU for all your support of A Simple Life – I forwarded your note to Denise last night and she was so happy to hear from you! You always make our day sweetie. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!


  3. You are one busy lady. I wish I had a little of your energy. I live less than an hour from Merle
    Fest and somehow have never been. I’ve always heard how good it is. Love your new colt. I spent a lot of my childhood riding horses and have always loved them although I haven’t ridden in years. I have a second cousin named Colt.

    As usual your blogs are so interesting and your photos are great. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I would like to also say to Tom how sorry I am that he lost “Lois”. I don’t know if she was a dog or cat but you have my sincere sympathy. My last dog was a rescue that had been abandoned and abused. She had seizures that we finally got under control after 3 years. She was the most humble, loving dog that completely owned my heart. At 11 1/2 years old she got cancer, developed pneumonia and pancreatitis and we had to make that dreaded decision. She’s been gone 7 1/2 years on June 1st and I haven’t been able to get another one after having dogs all my life. So, Tom, hold your other babies close and enjoy them while you can. You’re in my thoughts………Teresa


  4. Hi Teresa! You definitely need to check out Merle Fest next year! You’ll love it!

    I want to thank you for your kind words for Tom – I know he appreciates them too. He is the biggest dog lover, and like all of us – our dogs are our family. I want to thank you too for rescuing. I hope one day you find it in your heart to save another, while he or she will probably be rescuing you as well!

    Thanks for your note and your visit! Jill


  5. Sherrie Hinson, your grandbaby is a living doll…adorable!!
    Jill, it’s such a blessing to have friends who are willing to lend a hand…keep up the great work!!


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