Annual music festival to honor the late Doc Watson

SUGAR GROVE — World-renowned bluegrass and Appalachian musicians will gather during the annual MusicFest ‘N Sugar Grove to honor the late Doc Watson and his wife Rosa Lee on July 10-11 at the Historic Cove Creek School.

Watson was an admired flat-picking guitarist and a Deep Gap native. He was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a National Heritage Fellowship and eight Grammy Awards. Watson also headlined at MusicFest many times since the festival’s inception in 1997.

MusicFest was created as a community fundraiser to help fund development projects in the economically-distressed areas of Watauga County. The festival also funds the Doc and Rosa Lee Watson Scholarship Fund for students studying sustainable development at Appalachian State University.

When both Doc and Rosa Lee passed in 2012, MusicFest organizers renamed the festival the Doc and Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest ‘N Sugar Grove in their honor.

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver will be the headlining performance this year. Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He and his group, Quicksilver, have been awarded many IBMA awards.

MusicFest will also feature Krüger Brothers, Town Mountain, Snyder Family Band, Billy Strings and Don Julin, Honey Chasers, Claybank, Amantha Mill, Surefire, Stictly Strings, Broke Holler, Spirit Fiddle, Savannah Smith, Cane Mill Road, Jim Lloyd, Mike Preslar and Jeb Wooley.

Performances will be held on an outdoor main stage, inside the Doc Watson Museum and on a solar-powered stage sponsored by the Appalachian State University sustainable development program.

In addition to musical performances there will also be musician workshops and a pickin’ parlor.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, Thai chicken, alligator, funnel cakes, corn on the cob and BBQ will be among the many food options available. Vendors will also be setup during the festival to sell souvenirs and gifts including musical instruments and supplies, CD’s, craft items, jewelry, t-shirts, caps and more.

Proceeds from the event go to benefit the Doc and Merle Watson Folk Art Museum located inside the Old Cove Creek School. The museum holds art and artifacts depicting Doc’s life and music and will be open during the festival. Admission is free with a festival ticket.

Entertainment for kids including games, food and drinks will be available around the Old Cove Creek School grounds.

No glass, coolers, tents or pets are allowed at the festival.

Ticket prices:

•Two-day Reserved Seats: $55

•Two-day General Admission: $40

•Friday General Admission: $20

•Saturday General Admission: $25

Tickets for children 12 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Tickets may be ordered in advance or purchased at the gate.

The festival is sponsored by the Mast General Store.

For directions, tickets, performer bios or other information call 828-297-2200 or visit

Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.

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