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MerleFest Reflections 2003


Vassar Clements
Jon Randall, Sam Bush and EmmyLou Harris








Rhonda Vincent

Crowd control for MerleFest 2003 was further improved with new concrete sidewalks and a 50 percent reduction in the number of commercial vendors, which added to green space. Also, as crowds grew and fans were forced farther from the Watson Stage, sound quality deteriorated for those far away. To ameliorate this problem, delay speakers were installed behind the sound mixer tower. These speakers correct the sound attenuation problem and ensure great sound production regardless of the distance between fans and the stage. Special performances included Vassar Clements’ 75th birthday jam, the Acoustic Blues Showcase, and “Follow Me Back to the Fold: A Tribute to Women in Bluegrass,” performed by Kristen Scott Benson, Dale Ann Bradley, Sally Jones, Kathy Kalick, Laurie Lewis, Lynn Morris, Mark Newton, Missy Raines, Tony Rice, Ron Stewart and The Whites.


MerleFest 2003 also welcomed Asleep at the Wheel, EmmyLou Harris, Leahy, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Del McCoury.

This was Leahy’s first performance at MerleFest. A terrible lightning storm struck just as they came on stage. The show must go on, and it did with the pizzazz that only Leahy can deliver.