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WILKESBORO, N.C. -- It's a tradition dating back to the 80s, and now, MerleFest is gearing up for its biggest year to date.

The music festival's organizers expect more than 85,000 music fans to come see more than 130 artists perform in Wilkes County this weekend.

The festival offers music for people of many tastes. It's centered around, "traditional plus" music, a term dubbed by the late Doc Watson. MerleFest features bluegrass, country, rock and several other genres of music. Artists at this year's MerleFest include the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Jesse Stockton, Merle Haggard and many more.

Each year, the campus of Wilkes Community College transforms into the concert grounds for the event. And, WCC is where it all started back in 1988, originally as a one-time event to raise money for the campus gardens.

Today, MerleFest welcomes fans from across the United States for a celebration of music, contributing about $10 million to the local economy each year.

And you have four days to get in on all the fun at this year's festival. MerleFest 2014 kicks off Thursday at 2:30 p.m. and continues through Sunday evening. For a full schedule of performances, tickets prices, directions and more, head to the MerleFest website.

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