By Lisa Snedeker
I am so excited to announce the 2018 MerleFest Band Competition will feature two of my personal favorites, Brynmor and The Midatlantic. The annual band competition features talented bands from across the country that perform for 15 minutes each.
The Celtic rock group Brynmor, which is Welsh for great hill, was founded in 2010 by Winston-Salem, North Carolina, area resident Robert Gabb, who wanted return to his Celtic musical roots. Gabb, who had been playing in Wales and Ireland prior to moving to the United States in 1998, put together a group of great musicians capable of adding a rock edge to the music that includes fiddle, tin whistle, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and drums.
I have had the pleasure of hearing The Midatlantic, a Wilmington, North Carolina-based eclectic folk rock quintet, perform at Brad and Tammy’s Listening Loft in Reidsville, the Whodat Fest at the Doodad Farm and FloydFest, where the band was voted a fan favorite in the festival’s “On the Rise” competition in 2015.
Trust me when I say you won’t want to miss either performance on the Plaza Stage on Saturday, April 28, during MerleFest 2018.
The other bands, that I am not familiar with but am looking forward to hearing, are Ashley Heath and Her Heathens, Flatland Harmony Experiment, Horsemen Let’s Ride, Lauren & Lane, The Hackwells, The Lang Sisters, The New River Drifters, The Wildmans, Virginia Hollow and Canadian band Hummingbird Crossing.
The competition is sponsored by the Lloyd Johnson Foundation and will be hosted by Mark Bumgarner with judges The Local Boys and other special guests. The band contest winner will be announced following the last performance and will perform on the Watson Stage on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Created in memory of Lloyd Johnson and his musical spirit, the non-profit provides education and career advancement opportunities to grow and nurture musicians in Western North Carolina and beyond.
Slated for April 26-29, 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.
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.