Multiple Events Set to Mark 1 Year Anniversary of Merle Haggard’s Death

Artwork from “Hagfest” Set to Happen at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky by Kelley Wills.

One year ago Thursday (4-6), on Merle Haggard‘s 79th birthday, the country music legend passed away surrounded by close family on his ranch in California. Merle Haggard left a mark on country music that was unparalleled, and his death still leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of many country music fans.

To mark the 1 Year Anniversary of Merle Haggard’s passing, multiple events across the United States will give music fans, and many of today’s country artists who were inspired by Merle’s music, the opportunity to pay tribute to Haggard.

The biggest one by far is the massive Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard tribute set to transpire at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Thursday night with an all-star lineup that includes Willie Nelson, Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Connie Smith, and many more, including late editions Keith Richards, Sheryl Crow, and scores of other performers. For those who can’t be there in person, the event is being taped for broadcast and/or distribution at a further date, similar to other recent tribute concerts for other country legends.

But of course, not everyone can make it to Nashville, or secure a ticket for such a sought-after event. So many other smaller, but just as spirited events will be happening all across the country. In Bakersfield, and Kern County, CA where Merle Haggard was born and raised, multiple events will mark the 1 Year Anniversary of his passing, including what is being called the Haggard Boxcar Festival at the Kern Pioneer Village in Bakersfield where they will celebrate the grand opening of the Merle Haggard House—-the humble boxcar where Haggard was born that was later converted into a house in nearby Oildale. The boxcar was later moved to the Kern Pioneer Village and restored.

The Haggard Boxcar Festival will happen Sunday, April 9th, from noon to 6 p.m., with James Carothers performing from noon to 1:30 p.m., Johnny Owens & The Buck Fever Band (with Special Guests) from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Ben & Noel Haggard and The Strangers performing from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Another state synonymous with Merle Haggard was Oklahoma after his signature song “Okie From Muskogee” became a massive hit. The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame is hosting a Merle Haggard Tribute Show at 7 p.m. Thursday (4-6) at The Frisco Depot in Hugo, Oklahoma. Performers include Heath Wright and The Hangmen, with special guests Don White, Monica Taylor, Bo Phillips, Harley Hamm, Alaska & Madi, Blake Turner, Jim Paul Blair and more. For more information, CLICK HERE.

And you don’t have to live in a location that is directly linked to Merle Haggard to celebrate his life. At the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky on Thursday, multiple musicians will be coming together to celebrate Hagfest. Performers include Josh Morningstar & The Pickups, Todd Day Wait’s Pigpen, Joe’s Truck Stop, Billie Gant, The Harold Kennedy Trio, Chris Acker and the Growing Boys, Pat Hu & The Kentucky River Ramblers, Thorn County, Maria Carrelli, Adam Lee, Straw Boss, and Big Little Lions. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Joe Macheret of The Tillers and Joe’s Truck Stop are the organizers of Hagfest. Proceeds from the event will go to The Appalachian Prison Book Project.

The Landmark Saloon in Portland, Oregon will also host a Merle Haggard tribute, hosted by the Dukes of Haggard made up of Portland’s finest pickers including Ian Miller on Guitar, Rusty Blake on Pedal Steel, Chris Miller on Bass, and Don Lawry on Drums. They will play all night with a long list of Portland’s finest singers leading their favorite Hag songs. MORE INFO

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Have a similar event planned to mark the 1 Year Anniversary of Merle Haggard’s death? Please feel free to share the information below in the comments section.

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