In response to directives from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and growing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Wilkes County officials have cancelled all mass gatherings of more than 100 people in Wilkes County through the end of April. Therefore, MerleFest 2020 has been cancelled. While this decision is disappointing for all of us, we fully support the directive from our county officials. The health, safety, and well-being of all involved with MerleFest is, and always will be, our primary concern. Click here for details.


Upcoming Events

October 1, 2019 – Volunteer Applications Opens

October 1, 2019 – Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Opens

October 1-November 30, 2019 – Early Bird Entry period for Chris Austin Songwriting Contest ($25/song)

November 12, 2019 at noon – Tickets on sale!

January 13, 2020 – Media Credential Application online

February 1, 2020 – Chris Austin Songwriting Contest deadline

February 17, 2020 – Early Bird Tier 2 pricing begins

March 16, 2020– Media Credential Application deadline

April 23-26, 2020 – MerleFest 2020

Media Contact:


Maria Ivey,
Sarah Bennett,

Media Credential Application

MerleFest History

Media Releases & PSAs

For the latest Media Releases, please visit our MerleFest Facebook Notes.

Download our MerleFest 2020 PSAs below! There are 15-second & 30-second high-quality audio recordings for your stations to play!

15-second PSA
30-second PSA

Media Images

Please visit our MerleFest Flickr account!

View Images

Who is Flattop?

The big friendly raccoon you will see at MerleFest is our mascot, Flattop. Why a raccoon? Merle Watson’s band, Frosty Morn, used a raccoon as its logo, based on his suggestion. A naming contest gave Flattop his name–a truly fitting one because of Merle and Doc’s mastery of the flattop guitar.