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July 2009 Volunteer Spotlight - Peter, Eric, and Travis Magrane

Peter, Eric, and Travis Magrane

A family of musicians, father Peter and brothers Eric and Travis Magrane, held a family reunion at MerleFest 2009. Living in three corners of the United States, the Magrane family decided to meet and volunteer at MerleFest. Peter made the trip to North Carolina from his home in Madison, Connecticut, Eric from Tucson, Arizona, and Travis from Portland, Oregon. Peter had volunteered in 2008 and shared with his sons "how cool a festival it was" and encouraged them to meet him there in '09 to volunteer. "We had a wonderful time and have decided to try and make it an annual event and perhaps even perform sometime, too!" enthuses Travis.

The Magrane family loves the arts -- especially music. Peter is a performing musician and works a day job in a bakery. Eric is a poet and writer and works a day job as a hiking guide, and Travis is a performing musician, teaches music, and works a day job in a restaurant. Their common interests, diverse talents, and love of music make for great family gatherings. Travis comments, "Dad and I are always talking about music and guitars, sharing stories about the last or upcoming gig, or chatting about cool chord progressions or tunes we're working on." Eric is a poet and has combined the written word with glass art by sandblasting and etching poems and words onto glassblown pieces and mirrors. The two brothers love the outdoors and backpack frequently. After MerleFest they remained in the area and took a backpacking trip in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Magranes applied early to volunteer at MerleFest and so were able to be scheduled together. They worked in perimeter security and as stage ushers. "We love that the festival is very family-oriented, and that so many people walk around with their instruments ready to play at any moment! Volunteering was wonderful because it gave us a different perspective on the festival, and connected us in a deeper way than just being attendees."

Travis found that you never know who you might run into at MerleFest. He was talking with someone at a Doc Watson set and after ten minutes of conversation found that they both live in Portland, Oregon and had even shared a stage together in the Pacific Northwest! Since then they have played several gigs together. The world is small and members of the MerleFest family are everywhere. "We were also impressed by the 'apprentice' nature of the festival and bluegrass musical heritage--so many young folks on stage playing with the old guard. It's a refreshing change from the competitive, 'holier than thou' attitude that comes with a lot of other music, festivals, and communities in general."

Peter, Eric, and Travis Magrane look forward to reuniting at MerleFest 2010 and camping at "Sewerfest" aka the Wilkesboro Fire Department Campground. "Being in North Carolina was wonderful - the weather, landscape, and friendly folks were a prime combination." They are just one of the many groups of families and friends who meet at the festival to enjoy the music and fellowship. MerleFest looks forward to seeing the Magranes back next year.