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MerleFest Reflections 2001


Dolly Parton with Doc Watson

MerleFest 2001 set the record for largest single crowd as 16,000 participants enjoyed a bluegrass-flavored performance by country music legend Dolly Parton on Saturday night. On Friday Dolly took a tour of the area, which included the view from the Brushy Mountains and lunch at Glenn’s Restaurant, a.k.a. Glenn’s Tastee Freeze, a Wilkes County landmark. In fact, she loved Glenn’s so much, she returned there to eat a few times during her visit to MerleFest.

A memorable moment during Dolly’s performance was when Doc joined her on stage. A funny thing happened as she performed; she swallowed a bug. According to Ted Hagaman, festival director, “Dolly was just getting started when she choked a little bit, gave her famous giggle, and said, ‘Oh my, I think I just swallowed a bug.’” The rest of her performance went off like fireworks as she completely charmed the audience.

Following on the heels of the tremendous success of film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” The Dan Tyminski Band mesmerized crowds with the blended sounds of bluegrass, country, gospel, blues and folk appropriate to the time period of the Great Depression in the Deep South. It was Dan Tyminski’s voice that was dubbed over George Clooney’s in the 2000 American film on “Man of Constant Sorrow.”

Dan Tyminski

While on stage, Tyminski recalled that when he found out that his voice would be dubbed over George Clooney’s, he called his wife and told her, “George Clooney is going to have my voice!” He said that she answered, “That’s my dream!”

Others gracing stages at MerleFest 2001 included the Kruger Brothers, Nickel Creek, Sam Bush, Earl Scruggs Family & Friends, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Del McCoury and Marty Stuart.”

MerleFest added the large video screen near the Watson Stage in 2001. Various camera angles and magnifications are projected on the screen so that everyone can see the action.

Watson Stage and audience