One of the more anticipated events at MerleFest – presented by Lowe’s and slated this year for April 24-27, 2014 – is the Midnight Jam, the Saturday after-hours hootenanny that has produced artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history. This year the Midnight Jam will bear the stamp of The Bluegrass Situation, a popular hub for everything central to the modern roots community.
Co-founded by actor Ed Helms and blogger Amy Reitnouer, "The Sitch" consists of several elements: online music magazine, one-of-a-kind jams and events throughout the country – such as curated stages at Bonnaroo, Americana Fest and now the MerleFest Midnight Jam - and the annual LA Bluegrass Situation festival in Los Angeles.
The Bluegrass Situation crew first visited MerleFest in 2013; their beautifully filmed (and often humorous) videos shot at the four-day festival can be found on The Bluegrass Situation YouTube channel, including the “Do You Play Banjo?” feature, with special guests Della Mae: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QqS89BDvCU.
The Jam will once again be hosted by festival favorites Scythian, a band that continues to delight MerleFest attendees every year with its musically eclectic, high-energy performances. “One never knows who might appear on stage at the Midnight Jam or what collaborations might take place. A few artists that are confirmed to participate this year include Keller Williams, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Deadly Gentlemen, South Carolina Broadcasters, Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line, I Draw Slow, The Steel Wheels and more,” says Ted Hagaman, festival director. “The Midnight Jam takes on a life of its own when you have this many artists working together to see how far they can push the limits of musical creativity.”
"Combining the forces of The Bluegrass Situation and MerleFest just makes sense,” said Reitnouer. “Both emphasize the importance of tradition and the necessity of artistic progression and change, and at the core of both brands is this amazing community that keeps us going and makes it all worth it. We at The Sitch couldn't be more excited to bring these two communities together this April.
“Fans and artists alike know that when they attend a Sitch stage, they're in for something completely unique and wonderful – a menagerie of artists and music they'll likely never forget (with artistic combinations that won't happen anywhere else). One thing is for sure: this year's MerleFest Jam will be one for the books."
As in years past, the Midnight Jam will take place in the Walker Center; a separate ticket is required and available for purchase by 4-day ticket holders and Saturday-only ticket holders.
Last year, Scythian’s Danylo Fedoryka described the band’s theory on their hosting duties: “Basically, it’s think quick on your feet’ and ‘improvise’ … We're hoping to do some mixing and matching that will stretch some people and give the audience some laughs and moments to remember. Once you assemble such a mass of talent under one roof, ideas are sure to pop up, so we have a basic idea of how we want the night to go. But, of course, we are also trying to leave some wiggle room to see if the night will take on a life of its own. One thing is for sure, we'll make the Midnight Jamworth the price of admission!”
Ticket purchases for MerleFest 2014 can be made on the web at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. With more than 130 acts performing on 13 stages during the course of the event, MerleFest is an excellent entertainment value. An early bird ticket discount is available through March 10, 2014.
2013 Photo Highlights