Hagfest will be taking over The Southgate House Revival this Saturday. Much more than a tribute show, Hagfest celebrates the music and lasting legacy of the great Merle Haggard, his contemporaries, and his own heroes whom he was readily known to pay tribute to himself.
Hagfest will include nineteen acts on three stages. Although the bands and performers will most likely play their favorite Hag hit or deep cut, the originality of the great songwriters on this lineup will be celebrated. Just the same way Merle Haggard was celebrated for writing so many of his own songs and paving a path for original songwriters
The Hagfest lineup is always curated to include the best Country, Honky Tonk, Western Swing, and Bluegrass inspired songwriters and musicians currently out working. The lineup includes former electric guitar for Merle Haggard’s Strangers, Redd Volkaert, Otis Williams (of Cincinnati’s King Records fame), Bill Kirchen (Commander Cody, Titan of the Telecaster), up-and-comers Jaime Wyatt and Josh Morningstar, and a slew of regional and local talent!
According to Joe Macheret, founder of Hagfest, “Hagfest has a couple inspirations...I always wanted to start a festival that mixed different Country Blues styles from Honky Tonk to Bluegrass to Western Swing to Old Time and beyond since those sorts of music festivals are very specific to their (sub)genre. I go to a lot of Bluegrass, Folk, and Old-Time festivals and always thought it would be cool if there's was a place for all these great musicians of various Country Blues styles to gather. The other inspiration was Merle Haggard, who had an indelible influence on me as a musician, singer, songwriter, and bandleader. After he passed, it seemed right to start the music festival I'd been thinking about. I got to work with Morrella at the Southgate House Revival and here we are going into our third year.”
Most of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Appalachian Prison Book Project. APBP sends educational resources and books of all kinds to inmates in Appalachian prisons. Considering Merle Haggard's past, it is a fitting nonprofit to work with.
Redd Volkaert, from Merle Haggard’s backing band as well as a Grammy winner is one of the nineteen acts to play over three stages on Saturday. We asked Macheret how that came about!
“This was pretty funny. I was on the phone with Bill Kirchen a couple weeks ago and he literally said, "Think I could bring a buddy up with me from Texas?" To which I said, "Who's that?" and he replied "Redd Volkaert." We're also very excited to have Otis Williams this year. Alongside his legendary career with King Records in the 1950's and 60's, Otis released a Country album in 1971 that is fantastic. It's a pretty obscure Nashville relic at this point, most folks don't know about it, so we'll be recreating some of the great album cuts live at Hagfest this year.”
Hagfest 2019 lineup:
Redd Volkaert and Bill Kirchen
Otis Williams and the Midnight Cowboys
Laid Back Country Picker
Luna and the Mountain Jets
Hammer and the Hatchet