Merlefest 35 And Counting

It’s been 35 years since Doc Watson helped create a festival to honor the life if his son Merle that was tragically cut short. That first event was held on a flatbed trailer stage in 1988, then titled the Eddy Merle Watson Memorial Festival. Today, MerleFest draw thousands of fans from all over the world to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains each spring to make music, moments, and memories together.

This year, April 27-30, 2023, not only will the event celebrate 35 years, but it will also honor what would have been Doc Watson’s 100th birthday. The festival plans to celebrate the life of Doc & Merle Watson and the history of MerleFest both visually and musically through vintage videos and artist collaborations.

The star studded initial lineup was recently announced and promises to live up to it’s tradition, featuring performances from North Carolina’s favorite sons The Avett Brothers, country mega-star and Highwoman Maren Morris, the genre-weaving cultural collective Black Opry Revue. Also joining the lineup are award-winning MerleFest veterans Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, and many more.

In addition to those mentioned above, the following artists and bands are set to appear at MerleFest 2023: Andy May, Banknotes, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Donna the Buffalo, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jim Lauderdale, Joe Smothers, Kruger Brothers, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Mark Bumgarner, Mitch Greenhill & Mitch’s Kitchen, Pete & Joan Wernick, Presley Barker, Roy Book Binder, Scythian, T. Michael Coleman, The InterACTive Theater of Jef, The Waybacks, Tony Williamson, and Wayne Henderson.

MerleFest 2023 Tickets are available now. For general admission passes, as well as patio seating, reserved seating, camping, parking, and more, please visit