Volunteer

Welcome! This is your first step in being a part of our volunteer family! As a volunteer you will receive free entry to the festival for the entire day of your shift, free parking and shuttle, and 10% off camping at River’s Edge Campground. Most importantly, you will be supporting a major fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. The benefits from this festival to our students and community are too many to list! Your support is greatly appreciated. In other words…you ROCK! First, you will want to check out the different kinds of Volunteer Opportunities we offer. After you’ve read all the fun things you can do, fill out the online volunteer application. If you have any questions or need assistance filling out the application, please give our volunteer coordinator a call at 336-838-6262 or email merlefest.volunteer@wilkescc.edu.

The deadline for volunteer applications is April 15.

Click Here To Apply!

Volunteer FAQs

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Conscientious
  • Energetic
  • Courteous and polite
  • Application with recent photo
You may volunteer for one, two, three, or four days. Most shifts will be three to five hours. Veteran volunteers are given priority over first-time applicants. You will receive free admission for the day of your volunteer shift and are welcome to enjoy the festival for the entire day of your shift. Come early, stay late! You will receive your volunteer commemorative pin at the end of your last volunteer shift.
Submit a volunteer application by clicking the link on this page. If you have questions or need help filling out the application, please contact the volunteer coordinator at merlefest.volunteer@wilkescc.edu. ALL volunteers are required to attach a current photograph to your application, or you can send it via email to merlefest.volunteer@wilkescc.edu or mail to:

MerleFest
Attention: Volunteer Coordinator
P.O. Box 120
Wilkesboro, NC 28697

All volunteers who fail to report to a scheduled shift without notifying the MerleFest volunteer coordinator will not be scheduled for the next festival.

We do try to schedule friends and family members at least in the same general time slots, but it is absolutely necessary that you list that person’s name on your application (they need to do the same) and send in your applications, deposits (if needed), and photos at the same time.
Camping is NOT included; however, volunteers will receive a 10% discount to camp at River’s Edge Campgroud. For more information or to make reservations, please visit the YMCA’s MerleFest Camping website or call the Wilkes Family YMCA at 336-838-3991. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to reserve camping. The volunteer coordinator does not reserve camping for volunteers.
Free volunteer parking is in Parking Lot V (Executive Drive, Wilkesboro) or Parking Lot D (Ithaca Drive, Wilkesboro). Lot V is located off of Highway 421 off Exit 285.  Lot D is located off Highway 268. Follow the signs for both lots. Shuttle buses will take you to the campus. Be sure to allow sufficient time for shuttle bus waits and checking in at Volunteer Check-in (where you will receive your wristband) and at Flattop’s Getaway (where you will receive further information about your assignment).
  • Be on time for shift check-in and work assignments. Plan enough time for transportation to and from campus.
  • Check in at three locations in this order: (1) Volunteer Check-in, (2) Flattop’s Getaway, and (3) at your work site with the team leader (for regular volunteers) or stage manager (for stage crew volunteers).
  • Check in for your volunteer shift at least 30 minutes prior to your shift starting time.
  • Work your entire shift. If released by the team leader or stage manager, check in with the volunteer team leader at Flattop’s Getaway for reassignment during your shift.
  • Notify the volunteer team leader/Flattop’s Getaway immediately if there are any changes in your availability to work your assigned shift once the festival begins.
  • Be familiar with volunteer job descriptions and guidelines. See below.
  • Attend the volunteer training session prior to the festival (preferable) or on-site during the festival. Pre-festival training will be held Wednesday before the festival at 6:00 p.m. under the Dance Tent.
  • Make arrangements for childcare prior to arriving on duty. Children are not allowed to accompany their parents to work/volunteer.
  • Volunteers should bring sunscreen, insect repellent, rainwear, comfortable closed-toe shoes, warm clothing for cool nights, and a flashlight (if on a night shift).
  • Hospitality volunteers must wear hat, hairnet, or hair restraint if handling food. No tank tops or sleeveless shirts are allowed. No sandals or open-toe shoes. If requirements are not met, the volunteer assignment will be changed.
  • Stage crew volunteers must wear MerleFest volunteer stage crew t-shirt while on duty. Only one shirt will be provided, so please wear the shirt only during scheduled hours. Stage crew volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes, no sandals. Stage crew relief volunteers are also required to wear closed-toe shoes.
The Volunteer Kick-off Party and Training Event will be held under the Dance Tent on the Wednesday night prior to the first day of the festival at 6 p.m. If you can’t make it, you will miss a great time of pre-festival music and fun with your fellow volunteers, but we understand. On-site training will be available for those who cannot attend.
If you cancel after April 15 you will not be considered for volunteering the following MerleFest. Please contact the MerleFest Volunteer Coordinator for additional information.
If you have further questions, refer to our website, use the Contact Us form or email us at merlefest.volunteer@wilkescc.edu.
Volunteer Guidelines

Volunteer Opportunities

Below are the many different areas for our volunteers. You can list your top 3 choices in the Volunteer Application, so be sure to read what each area is all about!

Monitor access to Artist Restroom backstage on Watson Stage.
Maintain security for food in trailer – no one to enter unless they represent the MerleFest food supplier or a designated MerleFest food vendor. This job requires heavy lifting and may be in full sun.
Assist registered customers with appropriate parking tag in finding a parking space.
Assist and welcome guests as they enter the festival. This job requires standing in full sun.
Assist with set up, serve, and maintain meals, snacks, and beverages. Volunteers must wear hat, hairnet, or hair restraint when handling food. No tank tops or sleeveless shirts are allowed. No sandals or open-toe shoes. Shorts are permitted as long as they are knee length. If requirements are not met, the volunteer will be reassigned.
Assist with securing area around activities and games, assist with numerous sign-ups, and other assignments as necessary. This job requires working with children and being in full sun.
Monitor museum during open hours.
Monitor gate to only allow those guests with appropriate wristbands access into the backstage area.
Provide various wristband checks and security in area presenting minor security risks, assist with traffic control, etc. This job may be in full sun. Requires standing for periods of time.
Assist stage manager as needed daily with photographers and guest. This job may be in full sun and requires standing for periods of time.
Sell MerleFest raffle tickets, work with the silent auction to ensure that all monies are accurate, and that tickets, funds, and items are secure at all times.
This is a ‘work where needed’ position. If additional volunteers are needed on festival grounds you will be sent to that area. If you have not been called out to help on the festival grounds you will be released after 3 hours. You will be required to remain at Flattop’s getaway if not called to work on festival grounds. Bring a book or other means of passing the time. Locations may require working in full sun.
Assist RV Campground area manager with parking RVs, ensure vehicles are parked correctly and that vehicles that are temporarily brought in for transfer of items are moved within a reasonable period of time. Perform other duties as needed. This job may be in full sun.
Check in school children from the correct school list.
Mingle with crowds and request a one-on-one survey. This job may be in full sun and requires walking and standing for periods of time.
Assist stage manager as needed with straightening chairs, trash cleanup, keeping aisles clear, and assisting guests. Requires standing for periods of time. These jobs may be in full sun.
Assist stage manager as needed with straightening chairs, trash cleanup, keeping aisles clear, and assisting guests. Requires standing for periods of time. These jobs may be in full sun.
Assist stage manager as needed with trash cleanup, keeping aisles clear, and assisting guests. Requires standing for periods of time. Keep Dance Stage floor clear of backpacks, strollers, sitting audience members, etc.
Assist stage manager as needed with straightening chairs, trash cleanup, keeping aisles clear, and assisting guests. Requires standing for periods of time. May require standing on uneven surfaces. These jobs may be in full sun.
Assist stage manager as needed to ensure that fire codes are followed, ensure that people do not block aisles or doorways, and pick up trash. Requires standing for periods of time.
Assist stage manager as needed with straightening chairs, trash cleanup, assisting guests when needed, and keeping aisles clear. Requires standing for periods of time. These jobs may be in full sun.
Assist stage manager as needed with straightening chairs, trash cleanup, assisting guests when needed, and keeping aisles clear. Requires standing for periods of time.
Ensure that fire codes are followed by monitoring doorways. Access is limited once the room is filled. Ask people not to block aisles or doorways. Do not allow food or beverages into the auditorium. Provide general information to attendees. Monitor restrooms and call custodians as needed. Requires standing for periods of time.
Answer questions and assist as necessary before 5:00 p.m. (the evening meal break). After the evening break ask those without reserved seating wristbands to move to general seating area to allow seating of those with reserved seating wristbands. Control access of entry after the evening break to only guests with reserved seating for the evening’s performance. Requires standing for periods of time. This job may be in full sun.
Assist stage manager and audio engineers as needed with production, including unloading and loading band gear on and off the stage. There will be lifting involved – volunteers should be able to lift 50 pounds. Volunteer stage crew may be scheduled for other duties in addition to stage work. Stage crew have been selected based on specific skills and experience, but schedule changes and evolving general festival needs may make it necessary to change assignments to meet the needs of a successful festival. Stage crew volunteers must wear MerleFest volunteer stage crew t-shirt while on duty. Only one shirt will be provided, so it is suggested that the shirt be worn only during scheduled hours. Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes; no sandals. Stage crew relief are also required to wear closed-toe shoes. Stage crew must check in with the stage manager at the assigned stage. Failure to do so will result in no-show status. This job may be in full sun for extended periods of time.