The initial lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers that are the hallmark of the festival. Thursday night’s schedule will include North Carolina-native country rocker Charlie Daniels (with the Charlie Daniels Band); on Saturday evening, fans can expect special remembrances of the late Doc Watson, with a performance by the legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who worked with Doc Watson on their classic Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, and a special all-star tribute to Doc, assembled by mandolin virtuoso – and longtime Doc Watson friend – Sam Bush.
The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music, continues to add to their legendary status. With multiplatinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as "Fishin' In The Dark" and "Mr. Bojangles", multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations, the band's accolades continue to accumulate. Their groundbreaking "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" album - which featured Doc Watson, among other traditional music icons - has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. NGDB’s recording of "Mr. Bojangles" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.
“This year’s festival will celebrate the life and music of our dear friend Doc Watson, who passed away on May 29,” says Ted Hagaman, director of the festival. “For the past 25 years he has been the artistic and spiritual center of this festival, so this year, we will come together as a family to pay special tribute to the man and the musician who meant so much to us all.”
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 Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.”
“From the beginning, Doc and his wife RosaLee wanted this festival to honor the memory of their beloved son, Eddy Merle,” Hagaman continues. “In the many conversations I’ve had with Doc through the years, he made clear that it was his desire to keep MerleFest as a quality event, with a focus both on family and providing a diverse collection of music. Going forward, it will be our honor to carry on that tradition.”
The following are among the artists scheduled to perform at MerleFest 2013:
“This initial lineup shows that the festival will definitely live up to its ‘traditional plus’ motto, with a strong collection of internationally-known touring artists from many genres, as well as a collection of local North Carolina folk and bluegrass artists,” says Steve Johnson, artist relations manager for MerleFest. “And, MerleFest fans know, as the lineup continues to develop in the coming months, it will offer quite a few surprises - let's just say it's going to be a big year!"
The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture has written that “Few individuals have symbolized the South in popular culture as directly and indelibly as Charlie Daniels.” His iconic rock anthem “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” as well as other classics such as “In America,” “Uneasy Rider,” “The South's Gonna Do It,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” “Still in Saigon,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and many others are part of a catalog that spans 50 years of record making and represents more than 20 million in sales. About his long and highly successful career, the famed fiddler has said, “I have been blessed with gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, I have appeared many times on network television, even in moving pictures. I’m a member of the Grand Ole Opry and have won multiple awards from The Country Music Association, The Academy of Country Music, The Gospel Music Association and even a Grammy. Ain’t God good!!!!” Charlie Daniels’ most recent album is Land That I Love.
The MerleFest box office will open for 2013 ticket sales on Tuesday, November 13, at 2 p.m. EST. Ticket purchases can be made on the web at www.merlefest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. With the estimated 90 acts performing on 14 stages during the course of the event, MerleFest is an entertainment value. An early bird ticket discount is available through March 10, 2013.
MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson who passed away May 29, 2012. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, 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. The festival hosts over 90 artists, performing on 14 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
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