Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, And More To Perform At MerleFest 2020
MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “For over 30 years, one of the major factors that have built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value, and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months.
Today’s lineup announcement adds five great artists to MerleFest’s already stacked lineup: Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.
Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale on November 12, 2019, and maybe purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. The remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.
New for MerleFest 2020 is “The Patio at MerleFest.” This ticket-upgrade includes comfortable seating in a covered area with great views of the Watson and Cabin stages, access to the friends and family seating area (formerly named VIP), a deluxe air-conditioned portable bathroom unit, snacks and beverages, and live video displays from the Watson and Cabin stages. Fans wanting to gain access to this exciting new addition to MerleFest should act quickly, as seating is limited.
MerleFest would also like to remind potential participants that the entry period for 2020’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is still open. Now in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at MerleFest.org or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. All entries received during October and November will receive an early-entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English, and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is February 1, 2020.
About Willie Nelson & Family: With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of “Crazy,” “Red Headed Stranger,” and “Stardust.” Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the annual Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, Texas, during SXSW, launched his cannabis companies Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy, and graced the covers of Rolling Stone and AARP The Magazine.
In 2015, Nelson published “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of his life that landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list. He also released a new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. The following year began with the release of “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin,” a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart, as well as earned him a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In September 2016, came “For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price,” an album of newly recorded interpretations of 12 Ray Price songs. In 2017, he released two albums of recently recorded performances: “God’s Problem Child,” with 13 new songs that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #10 on the Billboard 200, and “Willie Nelson and The Boys (Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2),” that includes 11 country classics and one brand-new song performed by Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah. For 2018, he released “Last Man Standing” in April to celebrate his 85th birthday. It is comprised entirely of songs newly-penned by Nelson (and longtime collaborator and producer Buddy Cannon).
In September, he released the album “My Way,” a collection of newly recorded standards and classics initially made famous by Nelson’s close friend and musical colleague Frank Sinatra. It went on to win the GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Pop Album. For 2019, he released “Ride Me Back Home,” a new studio album with 11 recordings that are a reflective upbeat journey through life, love, and time’s inescapable rhythms viewed from Willie’s unique perspective. These new songs and performances add to his classic catalog and find Willie Nelson rolling at a creative peak, writing and singing and playing with the sharp wit and wisdom that comes from the road, which he still travels along performing for fans. Willie Nelson & Family performs Thursday, April 23, 2020.
About Alison Krauss: Born in Champaign, Illinois, Alison Krauss grew up listening to everything from folk to opera to pop and rock music, but quickly fell in love with bluegrass when she began playing the fiddle at the age of five. Shortly after, Krauss began entering fiddle contests. At the age of 14, Rounder Records signed her to her first record deal, and she went on to release her debut solo album two years later. The accomplished bluegrass musician became a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 21.
Since 1985, Krauss has released 14 albums, including five solo, seven with her longtime band and musical collaborators Union Station, and the Robert Plant collaboration “Raising Sand,” which was certified platinum and won five Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. She’s sold more than 12 million records to date, and her honors include 27 Grammys, nine Country Music Association Awards, 14 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, and two Gospel Music Association Awards.
“Windy City,” her latest solo album, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and Top Bluegrass Albums charts and received two Grammy nominations. The album was produced by Buddy Cannon, whose vocal harmonies Krauss grew up listening to and were the soundtrack to her childhood. “Buddy sang harmonies on everything back then,” Krauss says. She also reveals to Cannon, “I don’t do something unless I feel like I’m called to do it. That’s what I felt like, so I honored it. It’s like the same feeling of when you know something is right musically, with a song or a batch of songs -the same feeling, but this was attached to a person instead of a batch of songs.”
Krauss frequently collaborates with artists from numerous genres, including Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Vince Gill, The Chieftains, James Taylor, The Cox Family, Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Mathis, Cyndi Lauper, Heart, Bad Company, and Phish. She has recorded and toured with Willie Nelson, whom she honored with a performance during the 2015 Gershwin Prize Tribute Concert. She will reunite with Nelson this summer on a co-headlining tour throughout North America.
“Whiskey Lullaby,” a duet which she performed with Brad Paisley won two CMA Awards in 2004. She has also produced albums for Alan Jackson, Nickel Creek, and The Cox Family. Some of these collaborators were also formative to Krauss, and she lists influences including Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Dolly Parton, Larry Sparks, The Cox Family, and Ralph Stanley. Alison Krauss performs Thursday, April 23, 2020.
View full MerleFest 2020 lineup HERE