Merlefest: A NC Folk Music Tradition

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merlefest logoMerlefest 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 28-May 1, 2022, Merlefest takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and is a favorite of thousands in the area.


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. This will be the first Merlefest since Doc Watson’s death.

Great Lineup For 2022

Scythian playing on stage: MerlefestThe 2022 Merlefest lineup consists of more than 100 artists performing across 13 stages, including Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show, Josh Turner, The Wood Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Trampled By Turtles, Colin Hay, Allison Russell, Kruger Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Scythian, The Waybacks, Jim Lauderdale, Donna the Buffalo, 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 area available at nearby River’s Edge Campground.


The Waybacks at Merlefest 2012Early Bird ticket sales run June – September. Prices range from $60-80 for Single Day Passes (regular prices: $70-90) and $170-270 for Multi-Day Passes (regular prices: $185-280).

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.

A Rivers Edge camping package and backstage tour are also available as add-ons at an additional cost. Purchase tickets at Proceeds from the Fest benefit Wilkes Community College.


1328 S Collegiate Dr.
Wilkesboro, NC
Phone: 1-800-343-7857

Who is your favorite act you’ve ever seen at Merlefest?

About The Author:

Born right here in Winston-Salem, NC, at Forsyth Memorial Hospital, Michelle is a native. At age one she moved to Virginia but after spending 30+ years moving around Virginia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, California and even Paris, France, Michelle returned home to Winston-Salem in 2004. A job at Hanes brought her here but the heart of the city has kept her here.

Her favorite things about Winston-Salem are its welcoming people who call it home, its art-centric culture, and its perfect location at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains and a short drive to the beaches of the Atlantic. The lack of traffic is a pretty tremendous asset as well, especially since it gives her more free time to enjoy cooking and playing with her dogs, Lily and Barley. Michelle is one of the many residents of this great city who are thrilled to call this "My Winston-Salem"!

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Monica McCarthy
February 19, 2022 3:12 pm

Cherish the Ladies