The Avett Brothers, Maren Morris, Sam Bush, & More to Perform at MerleFest 2023

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Every year, people come from all around the world to experience MerleFest. Started in 1988 after the passing of Eddy Merle Watson, the festival draws people from all around the world to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mele and his dad, the late great Doc Watson, spread Appalachian music to the masses with their headlining tours and timeless albums. Now, the annual festival brings music lovers to Appalachia for a celebration of the Watsons’ legacy. It is one of the largest roots music festivals in the United States.

Earlier today, festival organizers announced the initial lineup for MerleFest 2023.

Merlefest Celebrates 35 Years

In 2023, MerleFest will celebrate its 35th anniversary. Additionally, the festival will honor the 100th birthday year of Doc Watson. To celebrate the milestone event, organizers plan to showcase the festival’s unique history while presenting once-in-a-lifetime collaborations to honor the legacy of Merle Watson, according to a statement.

“From the flatbed trailer stage at the 1988 Eddy Merle Watson Memorial Festival to today, and looking into the future, MerleFest will continue to draw fans from all over the world to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains each spring to make music, moments, and memories together,” the statement read. Along with the announcement, festival organizers released the initial lineup for the 2023 event. This collection of artists shows that the folks behind the festival are keeping their feet planted in tradition while also looking into the future.

For instance, the 2023 MerleFest lineup includes bluegrass and roots greats like Peter Rowan and Sam Bush. Additionally, the legendary North Carolina-based progressive bluegrass group The Avett Brothers will perform. Also, next year’s festival will feature rising country star Maren Morris as well as the Black Opry Revue.

The Black Opry Revue is a collective of Black country, roots, and Americana artists. In 2023, they’re bringing Yasmin Williams, Chris Pierce, Ping Rose, Nikki Morgan, Aaron Vance, Mel Washington, and Leon Timbo. They’ll add more artists to the performance before MerleFest.

MerleFest 2023 Full Lineup

  • The Avett Brothers
  • Maren Morris
  • Black Opry Revue
  • Yasmin Williams
  • Chris Pierce
  • Ping Rose
  • Nikki Morgan
  • Aaron Vance
  • Mel Washington
  • Leon Timbo
  • Sam Bush
  • Jerry Douglas
  • Peter Rowan
  • Andy May
  • Banknotes
  • Carol Rifkin
  • Charles Welch
  • Donna the Buffalo
  • Jack Lawrence
  • Jeff Little Trio
  • Jim Lauderdale
  • Joe Smothers
  • Kruger Brothers
  • Laura Boosinger
  • The Local Boys
  • Mark Bumgarner
  • Mitch Greenhill & Mitch’s Kitchen
  • Pete & Joan Wernick
  • Presley Barker
  • Roy Book Binder
  • Scythian
  • T. Michael Coleman
  • The InterACTive Theater of Jef
  • The Waybacks
  • Tony Williamson
  • Wayne Henderson
  • More artists will be added before the festival takes place in April.

Tickets and More on Sale Now

Merlefest 2023 will take place April 27-30 on the Wilkes Community College campus in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Single-day tickets, 4-day passes, 3-day passes, parking passes, and more are available now on the festival’s website.