Celebrating Tradition Plus and the Watsons

Founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson, son of the legendary Doc Watson, MerleFest has been a major fundraiser for Wilkes Community College, and a tremendous celebration of traditional plus music, as Doc always called it. “When Merle and I started out we called our music traditional plus, meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play,” Doc said. “Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is traditional plus.”

The festival is considered one of the premier Americana music festivals in the country and features a unique mix of predominately string based music centered on “the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region.” That includes bluegrass and old-time music, alternative country, singer/songwriter, blues, and many other variations.

The four day event features artists performing on 13 different stages strategically placed around the beautiful campus. This year marks the 28th edition, and four years since the passing of Doc Watson. Scheduled to take place, April 28th – May 1st, the celebration will likely again draw 70,000+ music fans to the fest.

John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Bush, Steep Canyon Rangers, Jerry Douglas, Alison Brown, and Junior Sisk, are just a small sampling of the more than 100 top acts scheduled to perform this year. Visit for complete details.

Leave a Reply