MerleFest, presented by Window World, is pleased to announce the return of the beloved Midnight Jam and the start of the Barn Dance. Following tradition, the well-known, fan favorite Midnight Jam will take place on Saturday night, prefaced by the Barn Dance. The legendary music festival is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans; this year’s festival is scheduled for April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina at Wilkes Community College.
The Midnight Jam is one of MerleFest’s most cherished traditions. This very popular after-hours hootenanny gathers many performers from the festival for impromptu artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history.
For MerleFest 2018, noted songwriter Jim Lauderdale and North Carolina’s own Town Mountain will host the Midnight Jam, presented by renowned music website BGS at the Walker Center, is set to start at 10:30 p.m. and will run well past midnight. The 2018 Midnight Jam will feature a very special Doc Watson Tribute; in addition to Lauderdale and Town Mountain, the Midnight Jam will host a wide array of talent, including performances by Buddy Miller, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, John Cowan, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange, Bryan Sutton, and many more. A separate ticket is required and available for purchase by four-day, three-day and Saturday ticket holders. Town Mountain will also host the Saturday Night Barn Dance, another Merlefest moment not to be missed; the lively and loud event starts at 7:45 p.m. on the Dance Stage.
“Many years ago, Tony Rice and a few others came up with the concept and started the Midnight Jam,” remembers Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “From there the Midnight Jam has become a highlight of the MerleFest weekend, bringing together unique configurations and surprising ensembles of musicians gathered at the festival. You never know who may walk out from behind the curtain to take the stage on Saturday night in the Walker Center.”
Jim Lauderdale is a multi-Grammy award winner and "songwriter's songwriter," who has written/co-written many modern classics for iconic artists. As a solo artist, since 1986 up until now, he's created a body of work spanning 29 albums of imaginative roots music, encompassing country, bluegrass, soul, R&B and rock, as well as helping pave the way for the current Americana movement. Jim has written songs and worked with some of the finest artists in traditional and modern music, including Robert Hunter, Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, John Oates, Solomon Burke, Lee Ann Womack, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Gary Allan among others. He also co-hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Buddy Miller, "The Buddy & Jim Show," and is the co-host of Music City Roots, the weekly live and radio, podcast and PBS series. In 2016 the Americana Music Association honored Jim during the 15th Annual Americana Awards and Honors with the WagonMaster Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by George Strait.
Raw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger, Town Mountain has earned raves for their hard-driving sound, their in-house songwriting and the honky-tonk edge that permeates their exhilarating live performances, whether in a packed club or at a sold-out festival. The hearty base of Town Mountain's music is the first and second generation of bluegrass spiced with country, old school rock ‘n’ roll, and boogie-woogie. It's what else goes into the mix that brings it all to life both on stage and on record and reflects the group's wide-ranging influences – from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and the ethereal lyrics of Robert Hunter, to the honest, vintage country of Willie, Waylon, and Merle.
The Bend Bulletin’s Brian McElhiney says Town Mountain, “has serious country and rock’n’ roll DNA.” Town Mountain features guitarist and vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Bobby Britt, and Zach Smith on bass. Town Mountain is working on their sixth studio album and was recently recording in Echo Mountain Studios with Producer Caleb Klauder. The forthcoming album will be full of new original material and released later in the year.
MerleFest’s lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers who are the hallmark of the festival. MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.”
The complete 2018 lineup may be viewed at www.MerleFest.org/lineup and is now available on the MerleFest mobile app.
Tickets for the festival may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of "traditional plus" music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.