The Transylvania Times -

By Kevin Fuller
Staff Writer 

Mountain Song Festival Returns – Brevard NC


Volunteers are an integral part of the festival's success. (Courtesy photo)

For Mountain Song Festival volunteer Bob Marcum, standing security at the front gate is all fun and games.

Marcum, who has volunteered every single day of every festival, which will celebrate its 11th year, stands at the front gate greeting those waiting for the gates to open with words of encouragement and Trivial Pursuit cards to keep festival morale high.

Marcum is one of the permanent cogs who help make Mountain Song Festival such a positive experience.

"I try to get them to meet their neighbor," Marcum said, adding that festival-goers arrive up to four hours early.

This weekend the festival returns, and like the others before, Marcum, and his wife, Phyllis, who both reside in Brevard, will be there.

Handing out Trivial Pursuit cards, giving high fives and answering festival questions is just a day's work for Marcum. He's part of an army of festival volunteers that help the wheels turn.

Marcum said the Mountain Song Festival is a positive experience, even behind the scenes.

"Everyone comes in with a great attitude," Marcum said, referring to volunteers and festival-goers.

Marcum isn't just there to lend a hand. He's there like everybody else. He's just a music fan trying to catch some picking.

"I am looking forward to seeing Darrell Scott," Marcum said. "But when I look at the musicians on the lineup, I'm not crossing anyone out."

Marcum is able to catch plenty of the music. Volunteers are required to work three hours per day, given a specific assignment, and are also given a meal, drink and T-shirt, and then are given the opportunity to catch music the rest of the day. It keeps them coming back.

"It's an excellent return on investment," Marcum adds.

This year's festival lineup is just as jam packed with world class talent as any, including Friday night performances by festival hosts Steep Canyon Rangers, along with Tim O'Brien and Jerry Douglas presents the Earls of Leicester.

Saturday's performances include Front Country; Shannon Whitworth and Barrett Smith; The Steeldrivers' Dom Flemons Trio and Steep Canyon Rangers, with special guest Jerry Douglas.

Sunday is just as action packed, including performances from Steep Canyon Rangers, Darrell Scott and The Kruger Brothers with the Kontras Quartet.

Marcum isn't just a vet at Mountain Song Festival. He has volunteered for 22 straight years at MerleFest, the annual tribute to the music of Doc and Merle Watson, held in Wilkesboro, N.C.

He said he sees familiar faces at both festivals, with people coming from all over the world.

The Marcums were recognized last year by festival producer and founder John Felty, along with several other volunteers, for their hard work.

"Our volunteers are essential to the success of the festival," Felty said. "We have had a dedicated body of volunteers since the beginning. Many volunteer almost every year. They do a fantastic job, and it helps create a very positive atmosphere and builds community within the operations of the festival, and it speaks volumes about how wonderful this community truly is."

As the festival organizers and producers appreciate volunteers like the Marcums, the Marcums are appreciative of a world-class festival being put on in their backyard.

"It's pretty darn enjoyable," Marcum said.

Day passes for each day of the festival are still available, with prices ranging from $35 to $46. The festival benefits the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County.

This year, a late night show will take place at Brevard's newest venue, the DFR room, each night of the festival, featuring local talent.

The next morning, you'll be sure to see Marcum standing outside the gate at Brevard Music Center.

Have your trivia hat ready.

For more info, visit


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