WILKESBORO, N.C. – MerleFest organizers have put together yet another great lineup for Friday, April 23, to make more music and memories with performances by The Marshall Tucker Band, Jim Lauderdale and North Mississippi Allstars, The Earls of Leicester, the Del McCoury Band performing songs of Woody Guthrie, Sam Bush Band, Bruce Robinson and Kelly Willis, The Kruger Brothers, Spinney Brothers, Chatham County Line, Mipso, Ballie & The Boys, The Honeycutters, among many others.
With more 80 acts performing on 13 stages during the four-day festival, attendees can expect the unexpected with special surprises, spontaneous jam sessions and one-of-a-kind musical collaborations. In fact, you never know who you are going to meet. For example, on Thursday I met actor and Wilkes County native Zach Galifianakis‘ father, Harry Galifianakis, who is volunteering in the Merch Tent this weekend.
“It seems our fans are really thrilled about this year’s complete lineup. They always get excited to see Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Jim Lauderdale, David Holt, The Kruger Brothers, the Nashville Bluegrass Band and others who performed with Doc Watson. And this will mark the first MerleFest appearance for Grammy Award-winning The Earls of Leicester,” said Ted Hagaman, festival director, said in a release.
Finalists in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest compete on Friday to determine who will win first place and some great surprises, including the opportunity to record a song with Pinecastle Records. The culmination of the contest is Friday evening when contest chairperson Jim Lauderdale announces the winners, and the songwriters perform the winning entries on the Cabin Stage at 8 p.m. Among the finalists is Madison, N.C.’s own singer-songwriter Carri Smithey.
MerleFest 2015, presented by Window World, runs through Sunday, April 26, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
As in previous years, the list of performers fits the “traditional plus” definition originally described by the late Doc Watson. Watson coined this term to describe the unique mix of music found at MerleFest: traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock, “plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play,” Doc said.
Friday also offers the Doc and Merle Watson Performing Arts Showcase, hosted by Joe Smothers and Bob Hill of Frosty Morn on the Austin Stage. The series is intended as a diverse, eclectic sampling of local and regional talent, allowing festival-goers to see the artists in a more intimate setting. And in what is becoming a “must-do” event, MerleFest favorite Raleigh-based Celtic rock band Scythian’s Friday night show at the Dance Stage will start at 10:30 p.m.
The complete lineup and stage schedules are posted at www.merlefest.org and available on the MerleFest mobile app; festival updates are delivered via Twitter (@MerleFest) and Facebook.