June 2013 - Volunteer Spotlight - Mike and Renee Ward
Mike and Renee Wad live in White Rock B.C. (Near Vancouver). They have had an interest in going to Merlefest for many years and had hoped to arrive before the passing of Doc, but never the less were happy to take part in remembering him. They thought volunteering would enrich their Merlefest experience and were not disappointed. Mike is a pilot and most of their travel happens around airports, so they planned it a little differently this trip by taking Amtrak for part of the way and renting an R.V. which was also our accommodation at the VFW campground in North Wilkesboro. Renee works at a library close to home. Mike has taken up guitar picking as a pre-retirement hobby and has always been a fan of Doc’s playing. He is also somewhat of an endurance athlete. Doing triathlons and marathons and other running and cycling events. Renee’s interests are gardening, sewing, crafty sort of things and does join me on the shorter rides and runs.
There were so many entertainers they really enjoyed. Both are big Red Molly fans; and were lucky to see them in Vancouver and then got to see them again at MerleFest! Their harmonies, arrangements (their version of Doc and Rosa Lee’s ‘Lone Journey’ usually brings them to tears, and songwriting is great. South Carolina Broadcasters were also memorable with their interpretations of classics, some that were new to us. Of course The Wayback’s Album Hour was an unbelievable show, it was one of one of their volunteer venues which added to seeing the concert, lots of other people had told us about the show but it really needs to be seen and experienced. This is just a few but there were others like The Greencards, The Kruger Brothers, Sam Bush, Del McCoury and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Scythian…where to stop, the organizers brought in such amazing talent.
This was their first year at Merlefest and our first year volunteering. Although they cannot make it a regular event, hope to return again both as festival goers and volunteers. Mike says “Merlefest provided us with many memories to add to our festival going experiences.”