MerleFest Rolls Out Initial Lineup

The Marshall Tucker Band, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, North Mississippi Allstars and Hot Rize with Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers are just some of the artists appearing at in Wilkesboro, N.C.

Photo: Thomas Newton
CMA Festival, Nashville, Tenn.

Slated for Wilkes Community College April 23-26, MerleFest will also host Del McCoury, The Gibson Brothers, and Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis.

But we’re still brushing the surface.  The lineup also includes Alberti Flea Circus, Backporch Bluegrass, Baillie & The Boys, Banknotes, Glenn Bannerman, Del Barber and many others.  Additional artists will be announced in the coming months.

Photo: AP Photo
Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester, Tenn.

MerleFest gets its name from Eddy Merle Watson, the son of the late, great bluegrass musician Doc Watson.  The younger Watson died in a tractor accident in 1985 and the festival was created in his memory.  Doc Watson hosted MerleFest up until his death in 2012.  For years, he would describe the mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from Appalachia as “Traditional Plus.”

“It’s always a thrill for us to announce the performers at MerleFest each year, because we take pride in always presenting a lineup that is dynamic and diverse,” festival director Ted Hagaman said.  “It’s the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the four days of the festival that, in turn, creates another important element of MerleFest’s success: people truly feel that the festival is a great value. So many music fans and families return year after year, making MerleFest a regular spring tradition.  We will always work to make that tradition continue.”

Photo: John Davisson
MagnoliaFest, Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, Fla.

Tickets are on a three-tier pricing structure.  Early Bird Tier 1 tickets go up Nov. 11 and run through Feb. 15.  Tier 2 begins Feb. 16 and goes until April 22.  Tier 3 is day of show.  More information is available at