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Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs to Perform at MerleFest 2014

Merle Haggard Ricky Skaggs
Kevork Djansezian / Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The upcoming four-day MerleFest music festival just got a lot more star power. Merle Haggard has been announced as the headliner, marking the 76-year-old’s first appearance at the North Carolina gathering.

Ricky Skaggs has also been added to the lineup. This will be the bluegrass legend’s 12th time at the annual musical event since the festival began in 1988. His last appearance was in 2008.

MerleFest was created by the late Doc Watson to honor the memory of his son, Eddy Merle Watson, who passed away in a farm accident in 1985 at the age of 36.

This year’s MerleFest will also feature the first-ever BanjoRama, bringing together some of the top banjo players in the world, including Jens Kruger, Sammy Shelor, Alison Brown, Scott Vestal, Mark Johnson and several others.

“The idea for the event came about while I was pondering ways to keep the spirit of Merle Watson alive at the festival. Not many people know that Merle was also a banjo player, as was Doc,” MerleFest’s Artist Relations Manager Steve Johnson explains. “So, this seemed a fitting way to keep that part of their music in our program next year.”

Other artists scheduled to perform include Alan Jackson, Old Crow Medicine Show, Holly Williams, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Steep Canyon Rangers and Jerry Douglas. More than 130 artists will perform on 13 stages throughout the entire event. See a complete line-up here.

MerleFest will be held April 24-27 at the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. Tickets are available for purchase here.

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