Wilkes Community College is the host location for Merlefest. This internationally acclaimed festival is an annual four-day musical extravaganza staged in memory of Merle Watson. Merle was the late son and former playing partner of festival founder Doc Watson, master of Blue Ridge guitar styles and vocals. From Thursday afternoon until late Sunday afternoon, the 150-acre campus of Wilkes Community College resounds with music. The campus is located off NC 268, immediately west of US 421 (accessible from Exit 268-B).