MerleFest Expands Acoustic Kids Showcases for 2014

PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE  -  MERLEFEST ACOUSTIC KIDS SHOWCASEMerleFest is well-known for its celebration and encouragement of talented young performers.

The Acoustic Kids Showcases, a performance platform for the next generation of pickers, singers and traditional-style artists, allows youth to highlight their talents for music fans at the four-day festival and building  upon the momentum established by the Youth Showcases - mainstays at MerleFest for the past ten years.

Hosted by performer Andy May, these showcases will provide an opportunity for young performers through age 16, regardless of skill level, to perform in a supportive environment. Young pickers, singers and those with related talents are encouraged to apply before the April 1 deadline. Selected participants will be notified by April 15.

Selection is not based on how advanced a child’s performance might be, but rather it is based on a child's confidence in performing at his or her level. In fact, beginners are encouraged to apply.

Andy May is well known to MerleFest fans as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, mandolinist, producer, educator and visual artist. His Acoustic Kids Showcases have given hundreds of young performers supportive performance opportunities for over 20 years.

“I first developed the Acoustic Kids concept as a way to showcase my students who had the desire and the ability to share their talents with an audience larger than their family and friends,” said May. “As a performer and educator myself, I wanted Acoustic Kids to be a positive experience for my young students. In the friendly and supportive environment that we provide, we have seen youngsters develop into wonderful performers.”

Performers should note that the Acoustic Kids Showcases is now the method at the festival for young performers to showcase their talent; MerleFest will not be offering the individual instrument contests this year.

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of the late American music legend Doc Watson.

MerleFest is a celebration of "traditional plus" music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts over 130 artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

An application for the Acoustic Kids Showcases – and additional instructions and details about the Showcases – may be found at http://merlefest.org/YouthShowcases/

The Acoustic Kids Showcases will be held on the Austin Stage on Friday, April 25, from 5-6:30 p.m.; the Dance Stage on Saturday, April 26, from 10-11:30 a.m.; and the Little Pickers Stage on Saturday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Additionally, from among this year’s pool of applicants for the Acoustic Kids Showcases, several performers will be chosen for the special performance of the“Acoustic Kids Ambassadors” on the Cabin Stage on Saturday afternoon, 3:05-3:30 p.m.

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