Never fear, outdoor music festivals are near

On an overcast February day in the mountains, it does a body good to look ahead at the upcoming spring music-festival season that’s sure to warm a soul. Here are some of the big parties on the horizon; note that tickets for all these festivals are on sale now at “early bird” prices:

Merlefest celebrates its 20th anniversary with the downhome greatness in country, bluegrass, Americana and more that everyone has come to expect. Doc Watson, Marty Stuart, Sam Bush, Tift Merritt, Donna the Buffalo, the Wilders, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Pineleaf Boys and the Avett Brothers are just a few names to check out.

Merlefest, on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, is set for April 24 to 27 and has a variety of ticket packages, but a four-day general-admission pass costs $135 if you buy now. Go to for more.

• The spring edition of the The Lake Eden Arts Festival offers an amazing variety of music. There’s Nanci Griffith and her “new country,” Habib Koite’ and Bamada Rich from Mali, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, and Agent 23: Skidoo, which features a pint-sized hip-hopper that’s cute as a button, plus much more.

The music, at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, goes from May 9 to 11. Tickets are on sale now for $105 for adults for the full weekend. Go to for all the information.

The Asheville Music Jamboree, in its second year at Deerfields in Mills River, has another stellar lineup with headliner Gov’t Mule, featuring Asheville’s own Warren Haynes. Burning Spear, Afromotive, Kellin Watson, the New Familiars and Ivan Neveille’s Dumpstaphunk are just a few of the other bands on tap.

Advance tickets are on sale today at $140 a pop for the May 23 to 25 event. Go to for more information.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


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6 thoughts on “Never fear, outdoor music festivals are near

  1. Ashevegasjoe

    Doc may be the greatest picker in the world, so natural, nothing forced– just plain awesome!

  2. nam veteran

    I went to Merlefest 2006. When it came time for Doc to play, I moved down from general admission to about 25 feet from the cabin stage. Got to see him real close. I was completely blown away by his ease of play…play that was phenomenal. He makes picking look so easy. He sounds the same now as he did 40 years ago. Quite an accomplishment for a guy in his early 80s. Doc called his grandson “son”. It was touching. I’m going to Merlefest this year as well. Love Marty Stuart too. I met him at Salsa’s just before he went on stage for Bele Cher. A nice guy and so talented.

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