The musicians who play at MerleFest cut across many genres, but when they take the stage at the annual music festival up in Wilkes County, North Carolina next month, they will all fall into the category that Doc Watson called “traditional ‘plus.’”
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the festival, which grew from a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College to an iconic event that attracts big-time audiences and big-time musicians. Musicians and music-lovers will travel to Wilkesboro for the festival, which takes place April 27-30.
Wes Whitson joined Bill Harris on Wednesday’s TownTalk to talk about the upcoming festival and how things have been going during his first year of directing the event.
“I’m having a ton of fun here behind the scenes,” Whitson said.
“We always like to bring something for everybody at MerleFest,” he said, adding that legendary musician Doc Watson’s idea of “traditional ‘plus’” is always top of mind when making decisions on which musicians to book.
The event’s website describes the music that MerleFest is known for as “a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles.”
So whether you like Tanya Tucker or Nickel Creek, Little Feat or the Avett Brothers, you’re in for a treat this year. These are just a few of the performers scheduled for the 2023 edition of MerleFest.
“Doc (Watson) would have been 100 this year,” Whitson noted, and predicts that there will be several renditions of Doc’s tunes filling the air on one of the dozen stages at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.
Visit merlefest.org or call 800.343.7857 for details on tickets, day passes and to see the complete lineup of more than 90 artists who are scheduled to perform.