The first thing you notice when you get to Merlefest is the sheer number of people. Around 76,000 attended the four-day festival at Wilkes Community College. The second thing you notice is the number of people carrying their own instruments - guitars, banjos, mandolins, upright bass. You get the picture. You can find them at the Pickin' Tents. Outside are the instrument cases strewn about, inside are the players.