MerleFest attendees have eclectic tastes in music. Some are true bluegrass aficionados. Some like the international styles of Linda Ronstadts mariachi music or Celtic music. Some love Cajun music. And some, like volunteer Matt Snow, are classical musicians. Matt, a Music Education major at Appalachian State University, plays piano and French horn, and as a music student he expects to learn other instruments in the next few years. He can be found playing the piano on Sundays at the Unitarian Church in Boone, North Carolina.
Matt comes from a family of artists. There are two musicians, an artist/photographer, a hairstylist, and an artist/teacher among his siblings. His parents, from Florida and Canada, both found themselves in Lenoir, North Carolina where Matt was born and raised.
When he was in middle school at Happy Valley, a friend asked him to attend MerleFest with her family for one day. Matt recalls that day as fun, but says he got the whole MerleFest experience when his girlfriend asked him to go to the festival and volunteer in 2008. Their favorite place to work during the festival is at Little Pickers the MerleFest children's area. They have also worked at Flattops Getaway, helping with volunteer check-in, and at perimeter security. Both Matt and his girlfriend returned to MerleFest 2009 and requested to go back to Little Pickers where they enjoyed helping children at the climbing wall. Matts dedication was evident during the festival as he carefully prepared children for the climbing wall and cheered them to the top.
Matts favorite MerleFest musicians are Doc Watson, The Avett Brothers, Donna the Buffalo, Abigail Washburn, and the Sparrow Quartet. He finds festival food exciting (especially funnel cake) and has even grown fond of the cold showers. I love that everyone I meet at MerleFest is always at their best because everyone is so clearly happy to be there enjoying music together, Matt comments.
MerleFest would not happen each year without the dedication of hundreds of volunteers like Matt Snow. Thank you, Matt, for contributing your time to help make MerleFest the friendly, family-oriented festival that it is.