In 1985, seven-time Grammy award winning Americana artist Doc Watson lost his son Merle in an accident on their family’s farm. It was a tragic event, certainly, but rather than dwelling on it, Watson turned it into a celebration of sorts by founding Merlefest.
Merlefest was named after Watson’s son Eddy Merle, and it’s an Americana music festival that’s held on Wilkes Community College campus in North Carolina the last weekend in April every year. Watson started Merlefest in 1988 as a tribute to his son, with whom he played music for over 15 years.
The initial lineup for next year’s Merlefest, which will take place April 28 through May 1, was just announced, with 70 artists slated in addition to Doc Watson himself. Lyle Lovett, The Doobie Brothers and the Nashville Bluegrass Band are all included in the list, which you can check out at the fest’s website here. Tickets go on sale next Tuesday, November 9.