It (almost) always rains off and on during MerleFest, but usually just showers – the performers are under the cover of the stages, the people in the audience get out their ponchos and the show goes on. But in 2008, a fierce storm went through that closed the whole place down for as long as it lasted – thunder and lightning and torrential rains. Some friends and I had been at the Watson Stage and we ran for the Expo tent (where all the vendors are) nearby to get some cover. The tent is put up over the gravel parking lot, so there were rivers of water running through it and people trying their best to “divert” the rivers from the merchandise. And there was a lot of amazing impromptu music all around. (People had to do something with all of those instruments just sitting there.) When the storm had passed, everything picked up where it had left off. When we went back to the Watson Stage, the dogwoods just off to the side seemed freshly washed and striking. I hadn’t noticed them before the storm.