It's no secret MerleFest fans have made the annual trek for the past 29 years to North Carolina's Wilkes Community College during the last weekend of April to hear their musical folk heroes perform live. What's less obvious is the musicians themselves look just as forward to the annual event honoring the music of the late, great Doc and Merle Watson because it gives them the chance to rub elbows, possibly jam or even get discovered by their own musical heroes.
If you are already a fan of MerleFest, then you can skip to No. 1. For the uninitiated, however, MerleFest is the younger, Eastern cousin of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. I discovered this gem of Americana festivals more than a decade ago after I moved to North Carolina from spending nearly a decade out West attending Telluride.