Merlo plays Merritt’s Rockin’ River Fest

This is the first performance for the Maple Ridge artist at the Merritt country music festival.

Merlo released her first album

Merlo released her first album

Madeline Merlo will be one of the closing show highlights for this years Merritt Rockin’ River Fest.

The Maple Ridge artist will take to the stage on the final night of the four-day-long concert, just before award-winning Canadian artists Dean Brody and Bobby Wills.

This is the first time for Merlo at the festival.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to sing at Merritt Mountain music festival. But they ended up canceling the festival when I was 16, so I never really got a chance to go,” said Merlo.

“I know it’s not the same festival, but it is in the same location and it’s country music, so I am so excited to be able to come back to play it,” she added.

Merlo is the recipient of the 2015 Rising Star award at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards and released her first album, Free Soul, in April.

Her latest single, War Paint, is important to her.

“It’s about fighting for somebody going through a battle in a dark time. The crux of the song is if you were somebody’s fears and anxiety and tears, that’s war paint. You’ll go to battle for them, but it’s hard to be somebody’s warrior sometimes,” explained Merlo.

“I think [the song is] encouraging to those who are fighting for somebody and those who are in the fight themselves,” she continued.

She wrote the song after being inspired by a friend who suffered from mental illness.

“I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to fight for her, but I am hoping to inspire others to do so.”

Merlo will be performing War Paint and other new songs from her album, along with classics like Whatcha Wanna Do About It.

“It was my first Top 10 single on country radio, so I’ll definitely be doing that one. It’ll be fun to hear the crowd hear that one.”

Some of Merlo’s other singles that she will be performing, including Sinking Like a Stone, Alive and Honey Jack, have earned her multiple award nominations and air time on both country radio and television.

This weekend the artist will be performing at the Calgary Stampede and in August at the Boots and Hearts festival in Ontario.

The Merritt Rockin’ River Fest takes place July 28-31 along the Coldwater River in Merritt. It will feature three stages and more than 20 artists.

The line-up also includes Sam Hunt, John Michael Montgomery, High Valley, The Road Hammers, Randy Houser, Brent Lee, Small Town Pistols, Dakota Pearl, Josh Gracin and Aaron Goodvin.

There are acres of camping facilities located within the grounds of the festival. Children 12 and under are free.

Tickets range in price from general admission to reserved seating, The Roxy Party Zone and Party Patio ticket packages.

For more information and to purchase concert and camping tickets, go to https://rockinriverfest.com/tickets/.