Arrival FAQ | MerleFest
MerleFest Logo
Window World Logo
Arrival FAQs

Music. Moments. Memories.

MerleFest Logo

April 23-26, 2020

Arrival FAQs

I don’t have my tickets yet. Can I buy them at the box office upon my arrival?

Yes! Tickets are available at the box office (located at the main festival entrance) or they can be purchased online at any time. We advise that you take advantage of our Early Bird pricing and get your tickets before the festival gates open!

On Campus RV Camping Rules?

The RV campground is for self-contained RVs with hard-shell exteriors only. (Pop-ups are allowed.) Tents are prohibited.

  • Campers must be able to fit the RV as well as any additional features in the reserved space.
  • All entry and exit for the RV campground will be via NC Hwy 268 and Stevens Lane.
  • The RV lot will open at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, of MerleFest week. If you arrive prior to 2 p.m., you will be asked to leave campus until the RV lot opens. Please do not plan to arrive earlier than 2 p.m.
  • There are no electrical, sewer, or water hookups. A dump station is located on Stevens Lane and portable toilets are available.
  • All vehicles must observe the campus speed limit. During the first few days, Wilkes Community College classes are in session. Please be respectful of our students.
  • Drugs, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and animals are prohibited. Glass containers are not allowed on festival grounds.
  • Firearms, fireworks, BBQ grills or open fires are not permitted.
  • Talking, singing, radios, televisions, etc. must be kept at a volume that will not disturb other guests. “Quiet Time” will be from midnight to 7 a.m. Generators should be turned off to observe “Quiet Time.”
  • Generators are permitted (note “Quiet Time” rule above). Gas and fuel must be in approved containers and kept inside.
  • All RV campers must have a fire extinguisher easily visible from the outside or readily available from the door of the RV.
  • Children should be supervised at all times.
  • Please put trash in properly labeled containers.
  • Coolers, backpacks and wristbands will be checked at the campground for festival entry.
  • Wilkes Community College Foundation is not responsible or liable for accidents, loss or theft occurring in the RV camping area at MerleFest.
  • MerleFest reserves the right to refuse service to any one at any time.
  • Once you arrive at the festival you will present your credentials at the security check point and proceed to the RV Lot to park.  The RV attendant will check you in, assist in parking your RV and then instruct you to go to Festival Check in to claim your wristbands and credentials. (Note: parking stickers will not be mailed).

The RV Campground Host has the authority to enforce these rules throughout the event. By purchasing your tickets you agree to abide by these rules.

The rules and regulations outlined are  intended to keep the RV camping area safe and orderly and to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

THE RV LOT WILL OPEN AT 2 p.m. ON FESTIVAL TUESDAY. All festival rules apply in the RV Campground.

RV camping spaces must be purchased with a four-day pass. If you have questions about your order or the sales process, please contact us at 1-800-343-7857.

Check-In Process:

  • After your order is complete you will choose PRINT AT HOME or we will mail your festival and RV tickets to you. Once you arrive at the festival you will present your credentials at the security check point and proceed to the RV Lot to park. The RV attendant will check you in, assist in parking your RV and then instruct you to go to Festival Check in to claim your wristbands and credentials.(Note: parking stickers will not be mailed).
  • The RV lot will open at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25. If you arrive prior to 2 p.m., you will be asked to leave campus until the RV lot opens. Please do not plan to arrive earlier than 2 p.m.
  • RVs will be parked based on order of arrival. No spaces may be held. If you plan to camp beside another group, you should arrive together. Site selection is not guaranteed.

As a reminder, your RV camping purchase includes space and parking for one RV and one vehicle.

What are the box office hours?
  • Thursday – 1:30 to 10:00 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday – 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Sunday – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
My tickets are at Will Call - where is that located?

You will find Will Call at the Box Office tent located at the main entrance of the festival.

Where can I find an official MerleFest Program?

Our MerleFest programs are located throughout the festival. We have them at the front gates, the Visitor’s Center across from the Americana Stage, at our Information Booth in the Shoppes at MerleFest, at Flattop’s Getaway which is in front of Hayes Hall, and at the VIP/Backstage checkpoints.

Where can I find a map of the festival?

The festival map is included in the official MerleFest Program booklet as well as the MerleFest app.

When do the festival gates open each day?
  • Gates open on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
  • Gates open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Is there re-entry to the festival?

Of course! You may come and go as you please but your bag(s) are subject to search each time upon re-entry. Do not remove your wristband. You must have your wrist band on to get back into the festival.

How often do shuttle buses run?

Continuously beginning at 7:30 a.m. until the last person is delivered. 

I am bringing an RV to MerleFest and will camp on festival grounds - what do I need to know?

All RV spaces are pre-sold prior to the start of the festival. Anyone that has reserved an RV space can check in beginning at 2 p.m. on Tuesday of the festival week. Once you arrive at the festival you will present your credentials at the security check point and proceed to the RV Lot to park.  The RV attendant will check you in, assist in parking your RV and then instruct you to go to Festival Check in to claim your wristbands and credentials. (Note: parking stickers will not be mailed).

What if I need medical attention at the festival?

Don’t worry, Wilkes EMS is on site to provide first aid to anyone who needs it.

Can I use credit or debit cards to purchase food, beverages and merchandise at the festival?

Credit and debit cards can be used at certain locations during the festival. ATMs are also located throughout the festival grounds for your convenience.

Will there be drinking fountains?

Of course! You will find water fountains in every campus building. Also, the college student clubs will be selling bottled water for $2.00 at various locations throughout the festival. Proceeds from the sale of bottled water (and other sodas) fund student club events and programming throughout the school year.

How hot will it get during the day and how cold will it get at night?

Springtime in the foothills can vary from a high in the low 80s to a low at night in the 40s. We recommend layers of clothing and raingear just in case.

Will there be an Information Booth?

Our Information Booth is located in The Shoppes at MerleFest on aisle 1.  You can obtain information about the festival and the area from our wonderful volunteers at this location. This is also where you will find the official MerleFest Program booklet.

Where can I get a schedule?

You can find the programming schedule in our official MerleFest Program booklet, within our MerleFest app and on our schedule webpage. We will publish the schedule as soon as possible – late March is a safe bet.

I am a volunteer - where do I go?

Please visit the Volunteer FAQ page for more information.

Who can I contact for housing accommodations?

You should contact the area Chamber of Commerce offices and Visitor’s Center in Wilkesboro. Northwest NC Visitor CenterWilkes Chamber of CommerceAshe County Chamber of CommerceBoone Chamber of CommerceAlleghany Chamber of CommerceYadkin Valley Chamber of CommerceCaldwell Chamber of CommerceCatawba Chamber of Commerce, and Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce. These friendly folks will be able to supply you with a list of area hotels and private homes & cabins accommodations for rent during MerleFest.

What are the Festival Rules?


  1. BEFORE 5 p.m. reserved seats may be used by anyone until the owner returns.
  2. AFTER 5 p.m. reserved seating wristbands must be shown to ushers upon entry to the reserved seating area.
  3. GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING is on a first-come, first-served basis. Chair height should not block visibility of stage for others.

Children 12 and under will be admitted FREE to general admission seating areas (accompanied by a paying adult); however, tickets are required for all seats in the reserved seating area and Midnight Jam. Children 12 and under are allowed front-of-house seating at the Little Picker’s Stage.

Chairs are provided at some of the other stages, or you may bring your own chairs or blankets. Convenient on-site, overnight storage is available at no charge. ALL CHAIRS/BLANKETS MUST BE REMOVED DAILY.  Items left are taken to Lost & Found.

  • Personal tents or canopies cannot be set-up on festival grounds, except in designated camping areas. Only tents installed by the festival tent supplier will be allowed.  Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by Festival Management.  Small infant dome tents are allowed provided they do not obstruct the view of others.
  • Large umbrellas including beach or patio umbrellas are not allowed. Normal size golf umbrellas and small personal umbrellas are allowed as long as they do not obstruct the view of others or dump water onto a neighbor during a rain event.
  • Folding chairs are allowed at the festival at all outdoor stages provided they do not obstruct the view of others. Tall canopy chairs do not meet these requirements and will not be allowed.
  • Personal grills, charcoal or gas, are not allowed on festival grounds at any time, except in designated camping areas. Only approved food vendors are allowed to operate grills.

Persons with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities. Requests for special accommodations should be made as soon as possible, but not less than two weeks in advance, by calling (336) 838-6260 or 1-800-343-7857.

Festival is rain or shine.

***** No alcohol/drugs, tobacco products, firearms, pets/animals (unless certified as medically necessary), unauthorized video or audio recording, glass containers, tents/umbrellas/canopies/hammocks, drones, segways or hover boards in concert areas. All coolers/backpacks will be checked.*****

What to know before you go

Our arrival brochure will help answer most of your questions about parking and general information. Click to download.

Can I bring my bike to MerleFest?

No.This includes bicycles, Segways, and motorized carts.For safety concerns, only approved festival vehicles are allowed on festival grounds.

Do you allow refunds for tickets?

Tickets are non-refundable.

What is included with the price of my ticket?

MerleFest provides free parking, free shuttle service to the front entrance gate, free overnight storage, programming on 13 stages and a free official MerleFest Program booklet!  And for your Little Picker, we offer free kids crafts, activities and playgrounds.

Can kids get in free?

Always! Children 12 years and younger are admitted free to general admission seating areas when they enter with a properly credentialed adult; however, tickets are required for all seats in the reserved seating area.

What kinds of kids’ activities do you have?

We have lots of fun activities and crafts for your Little Picker. Please visit the Little Pickers page to learn all about the things we offer. We are one of the most family friendly festivals you will ever come to!

Do you have baby changing facilities available?

Yes we do! At the R&R tent in the Little Pickers Area, MerleFest offers a private area for nursing mothers, baby changing stations, small cots for naptime and specialized port-a-potty’s for small children. We also have a private room located in Hayes Hall (room 316) that is compete with a baby changing, chairs, and outlets for nursing mothers with pumps. Please note – this room does not have a sink or cold storage. 

Is parking free?

Parking is free and plentiful. You will see signs when you arrive that say Festival Parking. Follow the signs. A volunteer will help you find a parking space. They will also point you to a shuttle stop where you can ride directly to the front entrance gates. Don’t forget to note the lot you parked in. When you are ready to return to your vehicle, you will need to get in the correct shuttle bus exit line.Handicapped parking is available at shuttle stop ‘H’. Read our Arrival Brochure for additional information.

Is there shuttle service for on-campus parking?

Shuttle buses continuously make their rounds throughout the upper parking lots. There is no shuttle service for the Gray Lot or for the Pre-Paid Parking Beige Lot.

Will MerleFest still take place if it rains?

MerleFest will take place rain or shine. The only delay is for lightning or severe weather. However, the festival will resume when it is deemed safe to do so.

What kinds of food and beverages are offered on festival grounds?

Our vendors offer everything from turkey legs to tofu. You can find a complete list of food vendors and menus on our mobile app and in our official program guide. Some vendors do take credit cards. We do have ATM’s on-site if a food vendor requires cash.

Can I bring my own cooler with food and drinks to the festival?

Yes. You can bring your cooler onto festival grounds. All coolers are checked at the main gate as a safety precaution. But remember… MerleFest is alcohol free and we ask that no beverage or food be brought in glass containers.

How should I pack for the festival?

We suggest planning for hot weather during the day and cool weather at night. It may rain so don’t forget your poncho. We don’t want you to get sunburned either, so please bring your sunscreen! A blanket or lawn chair will be useful as you visit our 13 stages. However, if you want, you can purchase a MerleFest blanket or festival chair at our official MerleFest Gift Shop located in The Shoppes at MerleFest area. Band-aids, aspirin, sunscreen, snacks, etc. are for sale in our WCC bookstore, which is located in Thompson Hall.  And don’t forget your camera to record the MerleFest Music, Moments, and Memories!

Do you have a charging station for my cell phone?

There are outlets in each of the open building on campus. You are more than welcome to use these at your leisure.

Will there be an ADA seating area for me?

Yes. Please contact the MerleFest Ticket Office in advance to learn more. The number is (800) 343-7857. Please feel free to download our MerleFest ADA Guest Information flyer for FAQs on ADA parking, seating, restrooms, and service animal information.

May I please bring my dog?

Only certified assistance dogs are allowed with proper credentials. No other pets are allowed at the festival.

What is your smoking policy?

MerleFest and Wilkes Community College are 100% tobacco free.

What is River’s Edge Campground and how do I make reservations?

The River’s Edge Campground is available for MerleFest ticket holders and for our official MerleFest volunteers. For reservations, please call our box office at 800-343-7857or reserve your camping spot when you purchase your tickets online. For more information about River’s Edge Camping, please click here. To become an official MerleFest volunteer, click here.

We are here to help! Call or email us anytime you have questions. 

MerleFest Box Office Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. |  Friday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | 800-343-7857 | 336-838-6260