MerleFest 2017: 11 Best Things We Saw at the Roots Music Festival

From Zac Brown Band's stripped-down set to the Avett Brothers doing double duty, the highlights of the annual North Carolina hoedown

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Jim Avett
Jim Gavenus11/11

Jim Avett

As it should have, the festival ended as it began. The Avett Brothers returned unannounced from their opening night spectacular to accompany their father Jim's humble presentation of old-time hymns in a closing day gospel session. Kicking off the Creekside Stage set on his own, Dad churned out "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." But fans soon squirmed when they caught sight of Avett brothers Scott and Seth bobbing in the grass behind the stage. Whispers flew around the grassy amphitheater and necks craned, and then the boys with bassist Bob Crawford performed more gospel in a family tradition that brought to mind North Carolina's Johnson Family Singers of yore. With "In the Garden," the Avetts were gone and MerleFest approached its close. 

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