Merge’s 20th Birthday Party

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Merge Records, the indie label is throwing itself a birthday party with the XX MERGE festival. A bunch of your favorite Merge artists will be there, including Spoon, Conor Oberst and The Broken West.

The fest takes place July 22-26 with four nights at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, N.C. and the final night at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Photo: Rod Tanaka

Additional artists include Spent, M.Ward, The Rosebuds, Destroyer, Guv’ner, Polvo and Pipe. Naturally, Superchunk will also be there as the indie fun all started with Superchunk guitarist/vocalist Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Balance, who formed the label in 1989.

Merge’s Web site promises the fest will feature more than 25 artists including “many more expected & unexpected.”

Hmmm, could the lineup include Arcade Fire, whose 2004 debut album, Funeral, was the first Merge album to claim a spot on the Top 200 album chart? Maybe ultimate girl crush Zooey Deschanel might drop by and join M.Ward to play some She & Him tunes. Or Neutral Milk Hotel could use the occasion as a good excuse to have a little reunion and share some of their psychedelia/folk goodness.

Photo: Doug Seymour

Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST though A 5-day pass will set you back $150. The passes must be picked up at will-call at the Cat’s Cradle with your ticket and your ID. Purchases are limited to 4 tickets per person.

A limited number of single-day passes will go on sale at a later, yet-to-be announced date.

If you’re wondering where you should stay during the fest, XX Merge has set aside a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn in Chapel Hill with a special rate of $85 per night. To make reservations, call 1-888-452-5764 and use the 3 letter booking code “MRA.”

For more information, check out Merge’s Web site by clicking here.