MerleFest Draws Big Numbers

The 15th annual MerleFest acoustic music festival drew a record paid attendance of 40,173 over four days, Thursday through Sunday (April 25-28). Nearly 100 acts performed, including Earl Scruggs, Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Nickel Creek and Gillian Welch. Cheley Tackett of Nashville, Tenn., took first place in the country category of the Chris Martin Songwriting Contest with her composition “Penny Wishes.” Martha Scanlan of Johnson City, Tenn., finished first in the bluegrass category with “Little Bird of Heaven.” Judges were Kate Campbell, Si Kahn, Jim Lauderdale and Welch. 04/29/02