Merlefest will take place April 23-26 on its traditional grounds at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C.
The event should have all the fixin's of MerleFest, including lots of jamming - including the Midnight Jam in the Walker Center - as well as the Little Pickers family area and the Pit, Creekside and Dance stages.
The usual gang is ready to play to what will likely be 80,000 fans. Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Travis Tritt, Tift Merritt, Del McCoury Band, Tony Rice and The Grascals are just some of the dozens already signed on.
MerleFest began in 1987 as a modest fundraiser for a garden on the campus of North Carolina Community College. Flatpicker Doc Watson was recruited. The event morphed into a 1988 fundraiser, with all proceeds going to the Eddy Merle Watson Memorial Garden for the Senses.
Eddy Merle was Doc's son and music partner, who had died in a farming accident. The 1988 event drew acts like Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice, Chet Atkins, Marty Stuart, John Hartford, Mark O'Connor and Jerry Douglas.
Doc, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winner, still hosts what has become MerleFest. Last year's event tried to be greener, with staff and volunteers working hard to reduce the amount of cars parked within the festival grounds.