Artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Rory Block to Earl Scruggs are among the dozens of performers playing the MerleFest music festival, which runs from Thursday (April 26) through Sunday at Wilkes Community College in Wilksboro, North Carolina.
The annual event, named after the late Merle Watson, son of folk stalwart Doc Watson, has become a center of traditional, bluegrass, folk, gospel, blues, Cajun, old-time, country, dance, jazz and Celtic music. Shows this year will be webcast on Acoustic Box Office.
Artists scheduled to perform include Doc Watson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ricky Skaggs, Nickel Creek, Stacey Earle, Béla Fleck, Jim Lauderdale, the Del McCoury Band, Tift Merritt, Roy Bookbinder, David Grisman Quintet, Donna the Buffalo, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Chris Hillman.
One of the highlights of the fest will be Parton performing her album The Grass Is Blue (1999) on Saturday with an all-star bluegrass band consisting of Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Byron House, Keith Little, Claire Lynch, Jim Mills, Bryan Sutton and Chris Thile.