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MerleFest Announces Addition of BanjoRama in 2014

Banjorama Merlefest 2014
Courtesy of McDonough Media

MerleFest will have a new attraction for 2014. Event organizers have announced they will include a one-time BanjoRama, bringing together some of the top banjo players in the world on one stage.

Merlefest is an annual music festival held in Wilkesboro, N.C., to honor the memory of Doc Watson‘s son, Eddy Merle Watson.

“BanjoRama is going to be an ‘only at MerleFest moment’ in 2014,” MerleFest’s Artist Relations Manager Steve Johnson explains. “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. So, this seemed a fitting way to keep that part of their music in our program next year.”

BanjoRama will be hosted by ‘Dr. Banjo,’ Pete Wernick, and feature some of the world’s most-renowned players, including Jens Kruger, Sammy Shelor, Alison Brown, Scott Vestal, Mark Johnson, Jim Mills, Rob McCoury, Terry Baucom, Ned Luberecki and Graham Sharp, as well as a few surprise guests. The banjo players will be backed by the Travelin’ McCourys and Bryan Sutton.

“To me it was important to showcase a diverse lineup of banjoists in the set,” Johnson continues. “It needed to be something that would be hard to replicate and would truly stand out as unique. Most importantly, it needed to be something Doc and Merle would appreciate.”

“[Earl] Scruggs and his disciples infused the banjo roll into bluegrass music – whose many styles in turn expanded the banjo’s horizons,” Wernick, well known for his innovative approach to bluegrass music instruction, explains.

“The colors of the rainbow, the flavors of many cuisines, are somehow heard in the way great banjo artists offer their music,” he continues. “At MerleFest, in the hands of a dozen masters of the instrument, we will be treated to a musical cornucopia.”

MerleFest 2014 will be held on April 24-27. Other artists scheduled to appear include Alan Jackson, Jim Lauderdale, the Sam Bush Band, Todd Snider, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.

Tickets are on sale now. An early bird discount is available through March 10. Purchase tickets here.

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