The Briarhoppers at Merlefest!

One of the first birthday presents to the Briarhoppers was an invite to perform at Merlefest. 
Sharing the same stages as The Kruger Brothers, Peter Rowan, T. Michael Coleman, Jack Lawrence, David Holt, The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, and many others, the BHoppers performed 3 sets on Saturday, April 26, 2014.  Approximately 80,000 people attended the festival.

Merlefest began in 1988 to honor the memory of Merle Watson, Doc Watson's son who died in a tractor accident in 1985.  The festival was to be a one-time event to raise money for a garden at Wilkes Community College but became a huge success.  The festival is considered one of the largest Americana/bluegrass/old-time music festivals in the world.

We thank Merlefest staff, including Steve Johnson, who treated us and all of the bands royally and we thank all of our fans for coming to our shows!

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The Legendary Briarhoppers!

In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band.

The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003. Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC. Since that time, The Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars.

In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Alana Flowers and Tom Warlick head the band with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!