MerleFest organizers have announced their schedule for this year’s festival in Wilkes County with music to honor two important milestones.

The festival continues the musical legacy of the High Country’s Doc Watson and his son Merle.

2023 marks the 35th year of the festival and also the centennial of Doc Watson’s birth. And some well-known performers will be part of the celebration. The list of 80-plus acts includes The Avett Brothers, Little Feat, Maren Morris and the Black Opry Revue.

Wes Whitson is in his second year as director of MerleFest. He says this year’s lineup builds on Doc Watson’s legacy of “traditional plus" music.

“Doc always said it was traditional music plus anything else he wanted to play or hear," Whitson says. "So that gives us a little opportunity to add variety and diversity, of course, to our lineup.”

Whitson says MerleFest is a major fundraiser for Wilkes Community College, helping to support student clubs, scholarships and capital projects.

The four-day festival begins April 27.

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