WILKESBORO — The initial lineup for MerleFest 2020 includes Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss.

MerleFest will be held from April 23 to 26 on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. 

In addition to Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss, Tuesday's lineup announcement includes 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 are now on sale at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857.

The music festival was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages. MerleFest is the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4-day festival,” Ted Hagaman, festival director, said in a news release.

“People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year," Hagaman said. "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.

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 Nov. 12 to Feb. 16; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from Feb. 17 to April 22. 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 mobile 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.

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 Feb. 1.

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