With the weather getting warmer and the flowers blossoming, we know that festival season is also on the verge of full bloom, meaning the countdown to Merlefest is in its single digit days! Over 50,000 music fans from all over the region are preparing to make their way to the grounds of Wilkes County Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina to experience the largest 4-day American, folk and bluegrass festival in the world. Located in the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Merlefest is known for its relation to area-native, bluegrass and banjo picking legend, Doc Watson, and his son, Merle Watson. The festival is notorious for bringing in big name award-winning folk and bluegrass artists, while also introducing up and coming artists in the region. The fun begins this Thursday afternoon and ends on Sunday. We’ve outlined the schedule below.
Merlefest kicks off on a high note with Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan and Jim Lauderdale, North Carolina natives and Grammy Award winners Steep Canyon Rangers, and Country Music Association Award Winner and Grammy Award Winner John Prine.
Highlights of Friday include Scythian, Grammy Award Winners Jerry Douglas and Old Crow Medicine Show, IBMA Award winner Peter Rowan and Donna the Buffalo for their second performance to close out the night.
Making up a jam packed and sure-to-be unforgettable Saturday are The Kruger Brothers, world famous mandolin player Sam Bush, John Oates of Hall and Oates, The Wood Brothers, a midnight jam with Donna the Buffalo, and Johnson City, Tennessee’s The Barefoot Movement.
Jim Avett will serenade Sunday Merlefesters with two sets on Sunday morning, one being a Gospel set. Other acts not to miss will include Tim O’Brien, Brandi Carlile, Sierra Hull, and a Sacred Songs of Doc Watson set performed by South Carolina Broadcasters.
Merlefest is not only known for the world class folk artists that they bring to the area, but also for the array of activities like a bluegrass jam camp, yoga hours, open mic stage times, raffle drawings, hikes through the campus gardens, and much more. For decades this has been a weekend that attracts thousands of people from all over the country to listen to some of the best folk artists around, so be sure not to miss it.