MerleFest 2023: Lineup, Schedule, Tickets, Dates, Camping & More

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Three women sitting in grass at music festival
These three women are ready to rock it out at MerleFest again this year. Are you?

MerleFest is an annual four-day traditional and contemporary roots music festival featuring bluegrass, folk, and Appalachian roots music from across the country. Scheduled for April 27-30, 2023 this year, MerleFest takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and is a favorite of thousands in the area.

History

merlefest logo png

Originally hosted by folk music legend and Grammy Award-winner Doc Watson until his passing in 2012, MerleFest was named after Doc’s late son, Eddie Merle Watson, who died in a tragic tractor accident.

Great Lineup For 2023!

Scythian performing at a past Merlefest event on Doc & Merle Watson Theatre
Scythian performing at a past MerleFest event on Doc & Merle Watson Theatre

The 2023 MerleFest lineup consists of more than 100 artists performing across 13 stages, including The Avett Brothers, Maren Morris, Black Opry Revue, Kruger Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Jerry Douglas, Scythian, The Waybacks, Jim Lauderdale, Donna the Buffalo, Andy May, and so much more.

In addition to world-class music, the Festival offers a large children’s activities area, called “Little Pickers Family Area,” a student showcase for children, “Pickin’ Place” for any musician to join in and jam, the Songwriters Coffeehouse, a Nature Walk, crafters, and over 70 vendors to shop from. Camping and RV areas are available at nearby River’s Edge Campground.

Tickets

Merlefest - Waybacks performing
The Waybacks performing at MerleFest

Prices range from $75-95 for online Single Day Passes ($90-110 at the gate) and $200-295 for Multi-Day Passes ($220-315at the gate).

Children 12 and under are FREE with a ticketed adult in the general admission seating areas. However, tickets are required for everyone in the reserved seating area.

Visit MerleFest.org to purchase tickets

Extras

You can pay ahead for camping at the Rivers Edge or On-Campus with an RV. A backstage tour and various parking options are also available as add-ons for an extra cost. Proceeds from MerleFest benefit Wilkes Community College.

Location

1328 S Collegiate Dr.
Wilkesboro, NC
Phone: 1-800-343-7857
email: merlefest@wilkescc.edu

MerleFest Video

Here’s a video highlighting MerleFest from last year.

Camping

Camping is available at the Rivers Edge Campground and at the YMCA for MerleFest ticket holders and volunteers.

YMCA

YMCA Campers have their choice of a pop-up camper site (15 total), a campfire site (with a fire ring – 25 total), or a regular campsite. 

All Y campers have access to the full YMCA facility during our operating hours and access to showers outside of operating hours on Saturday morning from 7 am-8 am and Sunday from 7 am-1 pm before we open. 

Contact Caroline Whitson at c.whitson@ymcanwnc.org or 336-838-3991 for more information.

Dates

YMCA Camping begins on Thursday, April 27 and runs through Sunday, April 30. An additional night on Wednesday or Sunday night costs $35.

Costs

YMCA camping fees for MerleFest are as follows:

  • Tent Camping: $120
  • Fire ring sites: $140
  • Campers $160

River’s Edge

Rivers Edge Campground is located along the beautiful Yadkin River at the Rivers Edge sports complex. There are over 300 primitive sites available for anything from a tent, to a pop-up camper, to a teardrop camper, to a 40-foot RV.

There is limited water access and no power, with the exception of power available to campers without a generator, in need of access for medical reasons. 

There are water hydrants throughout the complex for sharing of water, port-a-johns, and a shower trailer available for showers at $5 each from Thursday at noon until Sunday at Noon. Rivers Edge campers can purchase a YMCA shower band to get access to YMCA showers for $35. 

Dates

Rivers Edge camping dates begin Wednesday, April 26 at 12pm and go until Monday, May 1st at 9 am. 

Costs

Rivers Edge Camping fees for MerleFest are as follows:

  • Tents: $95
  • Pop up: $130
  • RV: $160

More information on MerleFest camping

Music Festivals In Winston-Salem & Surrounding Areas

Concert or music festival fan? Don’t stop at MerleFest. Winston-Salem and surrounding areas hold many music festivals all year round. Visit our music coverage to find your next event.

Who is your favorite act you’ve seen at MerleFest? Let us know in the comments!

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