MerleFest adds John Oates to lineup, Donna the Buffalo to host Midnight Jam

WILKESBORO — MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 28-May 1, announced that John Oates, a legend of American music, will be joining the official 2016 festival lineup as the final addition.

With more than 100 artists featured, including John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, Dave Rawlings Machine, Brandi Carlile, The Wood Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Tim O’Brien, Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Alison Brown, Doug Seegers and more, MerleFest 2016 is living up to its reputation as the nation’s annual homecoming of music lovers. Also announced, Donna the Buffalo will host the much-anticipated Midnight Jam at the Walker Center, and the Jam will be presented by again The Bluegrass Situation.

Oates is one-half of pop music’s legendary group Hall & Oates. Since the formation of their partnership in the early ’70s, Hall & Oates have gone on to record 21 albums which have sold more than 80 million units, making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 number one records, more than 20 top 40 hits and have toured the world for decades. In addition to their numerous American Music and MTV awards, in 2005 they were inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame and in May of 2008 were presented the prestigious BMI Icon Award for their outstanding career achievement in song writing. Since 1999, John has recorded five solo albums: “Phunk Shui,” “1000 Miles of Life,” “Mississippi Mile” and a live album called “The Bluesville Sessions.” His latest project is called: “A Good Road to Follow,” which began as a series of digital singles featuring collaborations with legendary as well as new rising stars.

MerleFest also announced that renowned Americana band Donna the Buffalo will host the Midnight Jam, sponsored by The Bluegrass Situation. This popular Saturday after-hours hootenanny gathers together 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. The Midnight Jam takes place at the Walker Center; a separate ticket is required and available for purchase by four-day ticket holders and Saturday-only ticket holders. Artists confirmed to play the Midnight Jam include Donna the Buffalo, Tommy Emmanuel, Peter Rowan, Mipso, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Wood & Wire, Billy Strings, Becky Buller, South Carolina Broadcasters, Jim Lauderdale, Lindsay Lou and The Flatbellys and Joe Smothers. Additional artists may be added.

“Many years ago, Tony Rice and a few others started the Midnight Jam,” remembered Steve Johnson, artist relations manager at MerleFest. “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! And, for 2016, we are extremely excited to have MerleFest fan favorite Donna the Buffalo serving as the host band along with The Bluegrass Situation.”

MerleFest unveiled the 2016 MerleFest mobile app for the festival. Now available for download, the MerleFest mobile app is offered at no charge to users and features the MerleFest lineup and stage schedules, artist biographies, map, announcements, social media links and more. The app allows users to plan for their entire MerleFest experience. Users who have the MerleFest mobile app will receive a prompt on their phones to download the 2016 version of the app. The app is compatible with Android and iOS platforms. A bonus for MerleFest fans: once downloaded, the app will be fully functional without having connection to phone service.

The MerleFest 2016 lineup and stage schedules are available on the mobile app and online at

Tickets for MerleFest 2016 may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. An Early Bird discount is available through April 27.

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