Merlefest to be held in wilkesboro april 26-29 community wataugademocrat.com electricity physics test

A key part of this vision is Doc’s love of “traditional plus” music, a moniker he created to describe a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian Mountain region, including bluegrass and old-time, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and “whatever other styles we were in the mood to play.”

Today, this spirit means that country music star Jamey Johnson will rub shoulders with bluegrass visionary Rhiannon Giddens, and folk legend Kris Kristofferson will play the same stage as the Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin. As the nation’s largest roots and Americana festival, MerleFest has room for all those who treasure musical tradition.

Thursday kicks off with the Kruger Brothers and follows with Kris Kristofferson, Robert Earl Keen and The Mavericks and continues through the weekend with Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Jamey Johnson, Sam Bush, Mandolin Orange, Jerry Douglas and Tommy Emmanuel, Rhiannon Giddens, Alison Brown and the Steep Canyon Rangers with Steve Martin, just to name a few.

”For most of us, on either side of the stage, MerleFest kicks off the beginning of the festival season and that couldn’t be more welcomed at the end of a long winter,” said banjo player Jesse Langlais. “The significance of MerleFest is one that cannot be summed up in a quote or maybe even a textbook. But if you’ve been, then you know how important it is to the whole acoustic music community and beyond! There’s nothing that feels better then to take part in an event that celebrates the lives of Merle, Doc and Rosa Lee Watson — true royalty in American music.”

The Dance Stage and the Mayes Pit (Thompson Hall) will both feature various workshops and dance instruction, offering attendees plenty of opportunity to cut loose. The Pickin’ Place provides musicians of all levels and genres to meet old friends and make new ones while singing and playing their favorite tunes together. Other activities include backstage tours and a new interactive display in the MerleFest Museum.

MerleFest is meant to be a fun, educational experience for children, too. Children are taught about roots music through listening and are given opportunities to play music for themselves through experiences like the Instrument Petting Zoo. The festival also supports youth who already play music by providing them with performance opportunities in the Acoustic Kids Showcases hosted by musician Andy May and held on Friday and Saturday of MerleFest.

During the festival, the Little Pickers Stage offers great performances geared towards entertaining kids and their families. The Little Pickers Family Area is enhanced with crafts, face-painting, games, storytelling, a large grassy play area and the opportunity to take pictures with MerleFest’s official mascot, Flattop the raccoon.

“For those wanting an affordable weekend getaway, MerleFest provides a true value to its customers,” said festival Director Ted Hagaman. “The admission prices are extremely reasonable — especially considering that we feature over 120 acts on 13 stages. Also, there are no hidden charges. We provide free parking, a free shuttle that will deliver you to the entrance, a free program guide, and all children 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult.”