MerleFest 2018 Books More Than 100 Acts

Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen and More Join Initial Lineup

The initial lineup for the 31st annual MerleFest, presented by Window World, promises more than 100 live acts representing a mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region.

The annual event returns to Wilkesboro, NC’s Wilkes Community College on April 26-29, 2018. Tickets go on sale Tuesday (Nov. 14) through the festival’s website.

Among the first round of performers are Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, The Devil Makes Three, Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble.

The four-day event will also include the “Mission Temple Fireworks Revival” featuring Paul Thorn & Band, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the McCrary Sisters and more. Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale will host April 28’s Midnight Jam presented by The Bluegrass Situation.

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in the memory of renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson, the son of the late music legend Doc Watson. Traditionally, the event hosts a live mix of bluegrass, old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that Watson referred to as “traditional plus.”

MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the Wilkes Community College Foundation. The nonprofit supports scholarships for students, capital projects, staff and faculty development, and the beautification of the school.

Here is the list of the initial performers for MerleFest 2018:

Aaron Burdett
Alberti Flea Circus
Andrew Collins Trio
Andy May
Ari Eisinger
Ashley Heath and Her Heathens
Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble
Balsam Range
Bill Mathis
Bob Hill
Bryan Sutton
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
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
Jamey Johnson
Jayme Stone’s Folklife
Jeanette Williams Band
Jeff Little Trio
Jeffrey Foucault
Jim Lauderdale
Jody Carroll
Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers
Joe Smothers
Junior Appalachian Musicians Band
Kris Kristofferson
Laura Boosinger & The Midnight Plowboys
Lauren and Lane
Lindsay Lou
Lillian Chase
The Lonesome Ace Stringband
Lori King and Junction 63
Mark Bumgarner
Mike Aiken Band
“Mission Temple Fireworks Revival” featuring Paul Thorn & Band, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the McCrary Sisters and more
Mitch Greenhill
My Bubba
The Note Ropers
Pete & Joan Wernick
Peter Rowan
Piper Jones
The Po Ramblin’ Boys
Richard Ray Farrell
Richie and Rosie
Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley
Robert Earl Keen
Robin and Linda Williams
Rosie & the Riveters
Roy Book Binder
Sam Bush Band
Sarah Jane Scouten
Savannah Smith and Southern Soul
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 Devil Makes Three
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
The New River Drifters
The Waybacks
The Wildmans
Susana and Timmy Abell
Tony Williamson Band
Town Mountain
Unspoken Tradition
Virginia Hollow
The Way Down Wanderers
Wayne Henderson
Wesley Bright & The Honeytones
Whitewater Bluegrass Company

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.