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Merle Haggard Cancels Show at Strawberry Festival

Kris Kristofferson | Strawberry Festival | Merle Haggard

Kris Kristofferson will take Merle Haggard’s place on March 12. The Strawberry Festival kicks off today (March 3)  and runs through March 13.

PLANT CITY – Merle Haggard has canceled his performance at the 2016 event because of health concerns, according to Florida Strawberry Festival officials.

“Due to a persistent reoccurring bout of double pneumonia, Merle Haggard is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in California and has had to postpone his concert dates in March,” said a Haggard representative. “He looks forward to seeing his fans on his next tour in April. However, per doctor’s orders, he is going to take one more month off from life on the road to rest and recover.”

Kris Kristofferson will step in for Haggard.

“We are saddened to learn that Merle Haggard won’t be able to join us,” Florida Strawberry Festival general manager Paul Davis said. “But we believe we have secured an outstanding replacement whose fan base is very similar to Mr. Haggard’s.”

Kristofferson, a 79-year-old country singer/songwriter and Golden Globe winning actor, is best known for his hits Me and Bobby McGee, Help Me Make It Through the Night, Sunday Morning Coming Down, and more. He has recorded 27 albums, including three with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson as part of the Highwaymen.Kristofferson previously toured with Haggard and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, among numerous other accolades.

“Kris Kristofferson is the epitome of a country legend,” Davis said. “He is a timeless performer and songwriter and will be a terrific fit for our festival.”

Tickets already purchased to Merle Haggard’s show can be used for Kristofferson’s show or can be refunded in full by March 10, Davis said.

The Florida Strawberry Festival is an 11-day community event in Plant City that celebrates the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County.  Each year, nearly 500,000 visitors enjoy the festival’s headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, exhibits, and, of course, strawberry shortcake. The 2016 Florida Strawberry Festival starts today (March 3) and runs through March 13.

For information about the festival, go to

Refund requests and questions about the show should be directed to the festival’s Amscot Main Ticket Office located at 2209 W Oak Ave. in Plant City. The ticket office can also be reached at (813) 719-6680 or through email at customerserv@flstrawberryfestival.

Tickets to Kris Kristofferson’s show can be purchased for $35 at, over the phone or at the Amscot Main Ticket Office.

Plant City | Strawberry Festival | Merle Haggard | Kris Kristofferson | TB Reporter

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Merle Haggard Cancels Show at Strawberry Festival
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Merle Haggard Cancels Show at Strawberry Festival
Merle Haggard has cancelled his appearance at the Plant City Strawberry Festival because of ill health. Kris Kristofferson will take his place.
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TB Reporter
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