MerleFest 2012 was a wonderful event as we celebrated the 25th festival. Many wonderful stories were shared by those who have been faithful supporters throughout the years. Videos played each evening at the Watson Stage telling the story of how this all came together. People returned, once again, for this occasion with smiles on their faces as they took pride in what MerleFest stands for and has become. For many, the top highlight during the festival was the opportunity to hear and see Doc Watson perform. What a legend - both as a musician and as a wonderful human being.
On May 29, we lost our good friend Doc. Complications from surgery took him to his heavenly father. Friends and family from all over the world, including his MerleFest family, have mourned since that day. We all know that there will never be another Doc. We've been privileged to share cherished memories with Doc's family as we gathered with them to pay our final respects to this great man. What a blessing to have experienced him, and as one person said at the funeral, "Doc is no longer blind - he now can see."
Since May 29, I've received many questions about the future of MerleFest. I want to take the opportunity to address a few things to you - our loyal readers. First and foremost, MerleFest will continue. From the beginning, Doc and his wife RosaLee wanted this festival to honor the memory of their son, Eddy Merle. I have had many conversations with Doc through the years. It has always been his desire to keep MerleFest as a quality event with family values and a focus on providing a diverse collection of music to honor his son. Therefore, the festival will continue and will continue to be called MerleFest.
Through the years, we've made many physical changes to the festival grounds. Changes have primarily focused on providing a better customer experience. We've also tried to listen to our fans in programming decisions and in added features. We have followed a programming formula for our artist selections and our fans continue to embrace the artists invited to play at the festival.
As far as changes to the overall festival ... We plan to honor Doc and RosaLee's wishes. We will stick to the programming formula that MerleFesters have grown to love. We plan to preserve the family values and traditions and to now remember both Merle and Doc for their many contributions.
I hope you'll plan to join us for MerleFest 2013 as we "Celebrate Doc." It will be a wonderful four days. We hope to see you April 25-28, 2013. As always, thanks for supporting MerleFest. Here's to the next 25 years!
Ted Hagaman, Jr.