The lineup for the 2018 edition of MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, continues to grow with the addition of Rhiannon Giddens, Rodney Crowell, Elephant Revival and Shinyribs to a list that already numbers more than 70 artists.
Now entering its fourth decade, MerleFest — not to be mistaken for Merle Haggard, as it was founded in 1988 in memory of Doc Watson’s son, Eddy Merle Watson — brings together a tapestry of musical styles to reflect the diverse roots of the Appalachian region. Taking place April 26th to 29th, the festival has already announced artists including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Robert Earl Keen, the Devil Makes Three, the McCrary Sisters, and Blind Boys of Alabama. Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale host a Midnight Jam on April 28th.
The newly added acts help further the variety of the bill, as well as some extra buzz, thanks in particular to Giddens, whose Freedom Highway has been one of the year’s most celebrated releases in folk and Americana music. Crowell, a Grammy-winning songwriter with ties to country and Americana, elevates the mix, while Elephant Revival and Shinyribs incorporate their folk with splashes of rock and funk.
MerleFest is held on the Wilkes Community College campus in Wilkesboro, with portions of proceeds going to the WCC Foundation for students.