The Whttington-Pfohl Auditorium at the Brevard Music Center is an 1800 seat open air, covered auditorium that is also the host of a wide range of other musical activities in the summer. Located on 140 acres of in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the center contains 145 buildings used for lodging, practice, and rehersal purposes. The auditorium has lawn seating as well plenty of first come, first served seating. According to the center’s web site, sound and light are state of the art. There is no camping on the festival grounds; dogs and alcohol are prohibited. There is plenty of camping available in the region.
Steep Canyon Rangers
As host band, The Steep Canyon Rangers will open the program. Nominated for two IBMA awards this year (Album of the Year, Gospel Performance of the Year) this band, formed at the University of North Carolina in 2001 was named International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Emerging Artist of the Year in 2006. Their youth, energy, and ambition belie their commitment to acoustic bluegrass music with a contemporary twist. They are an extremely engaging aggregation of professionalism and enthusiasm.
Tim O’Brien has long been one of the most popular and revered figures in bluegrass, folk, roots, and Americana music. Beginning his career with the ground breaking bluegrass group Hot Rize over thirty years ago, O’Brien has forged a now legendary career. Currently touring in support of his solo album Chameleon, O’Brien won a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy award in 2005 for Fiddler’s Green. He also has won two IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and Hot Rize was the first recipient of IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1990. A look at his discography suggests the range of interests his life has followed. Few performers have the presence and stature to carry a solo performance before the vast audience at Merlefest. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, after appearing all over the festival, O’Brien not only appeared, but triumphed. Tim O’Brien is one of those “Don’t Miss” performers who comes around all to frequently.
Sam Bush Band
The Brevard Music Center is within a comfortable drive of Atlanta, Knoxville, and the Greensboro/High Point area. The festival is probably without peer considering both the lineup and the location. Tickets are still available.