WILKESBORO — MerleFest, Wilkesboro, North Carolina’s annual homecoming of musicians and music fans, is one week away.

As the festival nears, organizers want to remind festivalgoers of a few important details. Festival gates will open at 1:30 p.m. local time on Thursday and 9:30 a.m on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All attendees and participants will be required to show one of two options along with festival admission passes to enter the festival: proof of full vaccination or a printed or digital copy of a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours of the time of entry.

Proof of vaccination can be in the form of a vaccination card, a paper photocopy, or cell phone photo of a vaccination card on arrival to the festival. Photos and photocopies must show the full card and be legible.

Festivalgoers who have not been vaccinated or do not have a vaccination card, must show a printed or digital copy of a negative COVID-19 test performed on you within 72 hours of the time of entry.

Once a copy of vaccination card or a copy of a negative COVID-19 test result, guests will be issued a “Well wristband” identifying that they have met the safety criteria for entry into the festival. Organizers asks that guests do not remove this wristband until the festival is over, as it will be good for the duration of the festival. If guests lose or remove the well wristband they will have to go through the process outlined again to receive another well wristband.

The festival strongly recommends that those needing a COVID-19 test get the test before arriving at the festival. Advance planning will save time and avoid waiting in lines. Additional information on all festival protocols can be found by visiting www.MerleFest.org.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Milk Carton Kids and We Banjo 3 will no longer be performing at MerleFest and will be replaced in the lineup by Shawn Colvin and Gangstagrass, respectively. Shawn Colvin, along with David Childers, will replace Milk Carton Kids as judges in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

Additionally, Andy May’s annual MerleFest Acoustic Kids Showcase will no longer be held for the health and safety of its young participants.

“We are very sorry to have to let you know that we have decided we must cancel all Acoustic Kids Showcases scheduled for fall, 2021. This was not an easy decision. However, in light of the uncertainty surrounding the current COVID outbreak; out of concern for everyone’s health and well-being, festival staff and organizers included; and following our doctor’s emphatic advice, we see no viable alternative.” Andy and Lauren May released in a recent statement. Although very disappointed, they look forward to next year’s festival with the hope that things will be back to normal.

Download the MerleFest app to help plan a personal festival experience. The MerleFest app can point guests towards a variety of on-site activities for all ages. In between musical sets, the Shoppes at MerleFest is a centrally located shopping village of commercial vendors, official MerleFest memorabilia, and services such as first aid, lost and found, and internet access. Tickets for this year’s festival may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org.

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