MerleFest details COVID-19 safety protocol for 2021 festival

Press release from IVPR

Festival organizers for MerleFest have announced updated safety protocol for this year’s event, which takes place Sept. 16-19 in Wilkesboro, NC. MerleFest prides itself on being a safe environment for music fans to experience the joy of collectively celebrating the very best in Americana, bluegrass folk, and roots music in a family-friendly environment. In the interest of safety for all participants — and at the recommendation of high-ranking public health officials and performing artists — all attendees to this year’s event must provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of entering the event.

MerleFest organizers are working with local and state officials, and in accordance with CDC guidelines to develop all aspects of how this will work. The uptick in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant is the driving factor in MerleFest’s decision to require proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of attending. “Safety first,” said festival director Ted Hagaman. “After many conversations with public health officials, it’s clear that the smartest and safest change we can make is to require vaccinations or proof of a negative test.”

Specific details for MerleFest’s 2021 COVID-19 safety protocol will be released in the coming days. Festival organizers are alerting music fans of this change today to allow for those who wish to be vaccinated to do so before the festival begins on Sept. 16. “With the festival being less than 5 weeks away, we wanted to give music fans an early heads up on the protocol changes,” continues Hagaman. “I’d like to express gratitude in advance to all festival participants for their patience as we iron out our safety protocol in an ever-changing environment.”

Please visit for more information regarding this year’s safety protocol and stay tuned to MerleFest’s website and social media accounts for updates.

About MerleFest: MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel, and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock, and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the multi-day event. MerleFest is the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects, and other educational needs. Window World is the presenting sponsor for MerleFest.

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