The largest folk and bluegrass music festival in the nation will return this weekend.
MerleFest will take over the Wilkes Community College campus in North Wilkesboro from April 26 through April 29.
This year marks the 25th anniversary for the music festival honoring Merle Watson. The festival kicks off Thursday at 3 p.m. with The Deep Dark Woods performing on the Watson main stage.
Other Thursday headline performers include Lost Bayou Ramblers, Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale, Dailey & Vincent and Vince Gill.
Friday presents audience members with a full day of music with gates opening at 9 a.m. Headliners for Friday include the original lineup of Blind Boy Chocolate and the Milk Sheiks, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Sam Bush and Los Lobos.
Another full day of music continues Saturday with gates opening at 9 a.m. Festival attendees can expect performances from The Kruger Brothers, the Punch Brothers, Chris Thile, The Greencards and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Saturday will also feature the popular Hillside Album Hour and Midnight Jam. The Hillside Album Hour will take place at the Hillside Stage at 4:45 p.m. and will feature The Waybacks and Sarah Dugas. As always, the chosen album will remain a secret until show time.
The Midnight Jam will take place at the Walker Center at 12 a.m. and will be hosted by Casey Driessen.
Sunday will wrap up the weekend of music and gates will open at 9 a.m. once again. Headliners will include Scythian, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas.
Doc Watson will be performing at various stages Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are still available for the event and can be purchased at the gate. Ticket prices are $155 for a general admission four-day pass and $135 for a general admission three-day pass.
Single day passes can also be purchased. General admission prices for Thursday are $35, prices for Friday are $50, prices for Saturday are $55 and prices for Sunday are $40.
Tickets can also be purchased in advance by visiting www.merlefest.org. A full lineup and schedule is also listed on the site.
Check back next week for photos from the MerleFest 2012 festivities.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.