Before his death on April 6, Merle Haggard was scheduled to perform at Dauphin’s Countryfest in Canada on July 3. Instead of replacing his slot with another artist, his memory will be honored with a performance from his two sons and close friend and musical collaborator Jamey Johnson.
Ben Haggard and Noel Haggard will join the country legend’s band The Strangers for a special tribute concert during the festival. Johnson, who credits Haggard as one of his biggest musical heroes, will also take part in the musical celebration.
According to Countryfest Promoter Rob Waloschuk, the choice to keep Haggard’s music alive at the festival was an easy one.
“You cannot replace an icon like Merle Haggard,” he said in a statement. “We couldn’t think of a better way to pay homage to the life of this prolific singer/songwriter than to have his family and friends perform a tribute concert. Merle fans won’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime performance.”
Although born out of tragic circumstances, the event will likely be one that festival-goers will never forget. Passes for Dauphin’s Countryfest are currently on sale, and begin at $89 for single-day admission. You can find out more information at the festival’s official website.