A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Each month, Our State senior editor — and resident soundtrack maker — Mark Kemp, a former music editor of Rolling Stone, curates a one-of-a-kind Spotify playlist featuring North Carolina songs

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Each month, Our State senior editor — and resident soundtrack maker — Mark Kemp, a former music editor of Rolling Stone, curates a one-of-a-kind Spotify playlist featuring North Carolina songs

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Each month, Our State senior editor — and resident soundtrack maker — Mark Kemp, a former music editor of Rolling Stone, curates a one-of-a-kind Spotify playlist featuring North Carolina songs

An Our State Playlist: Mighty MerleFest 2022

Each month, Our State senior editor — and resident soundtrack maker — Mark Kemp, a former music editor of Rolling Stone, curates a one-of-a-kind Spotify playlist featuring North Carolina songs and musicians.


After a couple of years of navigating covid guidelines, MerleFest — now our state’s biggest, most beloved music festival — is back in Wilkesboro for its 34th year from April 28 through May 1.

This year, the late, legendary Doc Watson’s annual four-day, roots-based festival features a strong lineup with lots of great North Carolina-related artists, including headliner Emmylou Harris, along with Caleb Caudle, Rissi Palmer, David Childers, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Jim Lauderdale, and more. Plus, see other favorites like Old Crow Medicine Show, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Josh Turner, and Allison Russell.

This is a lineup not to miss. However, if you can’t make it, we’ve got you covered with this 30-song playlist featuring some of the highlights.