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MerleFest Announces 2009 Instrument Contests

By Mandolin Cafe
April 13, 2009 - 2:00 pm

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Wilkesboro, N.C. — MerleFest 2009, presented by Lowe's and scheduled for April 23-26, 2009 on the campus of Wilkes Community College, will once again host the MerleFest Mandolin Contest, the Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Championship and the Doc Watson Guitar Championship on the first two days of the festival in Alumni Hall.

These popular contests offer aspiring pickers some time in the spotlight to be heard by the wildly appreciative audiences at the festival, along with a chance to compete for an impressive array of prizes.

The contests are open to paid MerleFest ticket holders. There is no registration fee for the contests. Previous champions of the contest and advertised, paid performers for MerleFest 2009 are not eligible.

Interested participants will register and receive a number at Alumni Hall at the appointed times listed below. Twenty (20) registrants will be randomly selected to join each contest, along with the second and third place winners of that contest from last year. Contestants must follow this procedure and cannot recruit a friend to hold their place in line or register for them. The order of appearance will be determined by drawing numbers one half-hour before each contest begins. Contestants are judged on arrangement; execution and tuning; spirit; and overall impression.

The MerleFest Mandolin Contest will take place on Thursday, April 23. Interested participants should make their way to Alumni Hall between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. to register and receive a number. The contest begins at 4:30 p.m.

This year's prizes are:
Grand Prize - Gibson F-9 F-Style mandolin, valued at $3350;
Second Place Prize - Gibson Flatiron "Festival" F-Style mandolin, valued at $1350;
Third Place Prize - Calton mandolin case, valued at $735.

During the first round, each contestant will play two instrumental numbers. For the final round, each finalist will play two numbers—one instrumental of their choice, and a standard vocal number assigned by random drawing. During the standard vocal number, the festival will provide a singer/guitarist while the contestant accompanies and performs solos and back-up to the singer/guitarist. Medleys are not permitted. A single accompanist is permitted though not required, and accompanists are not permitted a solo performance.

Additional information:
MerleFest web site

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