The initial lineup for MerleFest 2018, which will be held April 26 – 29, has been revealed! The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The complete lineup for MerleFest 2018 will be announced over the next few months; today, MerleFest ‘s first lineup announcement includes legendary artist Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, The Devil Makes Three, Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, Paul Thorn’s Mission Temple Fireworks Revival featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama and the McCrary Sisters, and many more.
“Today, MerleFest is proud to announce more than 75 artists who are part of the festival’s 2018 lineup, commemorating the 31st year of the festival. MerleFest welcomes back five special artists that have played all 31 years: Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Joe Smothers, and Jack Lawrence. The initial lineup reflects the musical diversity and quality of performers who are the hallmark of the festival,” says Steve Johnson, MerleFest Artist Relations Manager.
MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.”
The initial MerleFest 2018 lineup includes:
Aaron Burdett , Alberti Flea Circus , Andrew Collins Trio , Andy May , Ari Eisinger , Ashley Heath and Her Heathens , Banknotes, Bill Mathis, Bob Hill , Bryan Sutton , Brynmor, Cane Mill Road , Cardboard Fox , Carol Rifkin, Jeanette Queen , Mark Queen, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer , Charles Welch , Cicada Rhythm , David Holt and Josh Goforth , Dead Horses , Donna the Buffalo , Doolin , Elephant Sessions , Erin Harpe , Flatland Harmony Experiment , Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen , Fireside Collective , Gunner & Smith , Hannah Shira Naiman , Happy Traum , Horsemen Let’s Ride , Hubby Jenkins , Hummingbird Crossing , Jack Lawrence , Jayme Stone’s Folklife , Jeanette Williams Band , Jeff Little Trio , Jeffrey Foucault , Jody Carroll , Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers , Joe Smothers , Junior Appalachian Musicians Band , Laura Boosinger , Lauren and Lane , Lindsay Lou , Lillian Chase , The Lonesome Ace Stringband , Lori King and Junction 63 , Mark Bumgarner , Mike Aiken Band , Mitch Greenhill, My Bubba , Note Ropers , Nu-Blu , Pete & Joan Wernick , Peter Rowan , Piper Jones , The Po Ramblin’ Boys , Richard Ray Farrell , Richie and Rosie , Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley , Robin and Linda Williams , Rosie & the Riveters , Roy Book Binder , Sam Bush Band , Sarah Jane Scouten , Savannah Smith and Southern Soul , Scythian , Sideline , Smitty and the JumpStarters , Steve and Ruth Smith , String Madness , T Michael Coleman Band, Ted Olson, Tennessee Jed Fisher , Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive , The Barefoot Movement , The BattleAxe Band , The East Pointers , The Hackwells , The InterACTive Theatre of Jef , The Kruger Brothers , The Lang Sisters , The Local Boys , The Lonely Heartstring Band , The Mastersons , The Midatlantic Band, The New River Drifters , The Waybacks , The Wildmans , Susana and Timmy Abell, Tony Williamson Band , Unspoken Tradition , Virginia Hollow , The Way Down Wanderers , Wayland, Wayne Henderson , Wesley Bright & The Honeytones , and Whitewater Bluegrass Company .
Also of note, the 2018 Midnight Jam will be held on Saturday, April 28th. The event will start at 10:30 p.m. and run well past midnight, with special hosts Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale. This very popular after-hours hootenanny gathers many performers from the festival for impromptu artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history.
Tickets for next year’s festival, as well as the Midnight Jam, go on sale at noon (EST) November 14, 2017, and may be purchased here or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14th to February 18, 2018; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19th to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.
Be sure to share this exciting event with other country music fans!