A walk down Chapel Hill St. in Durham takes one past historic buildings, beloved restaurants, acclaimed bars, hair salons, and more. Make the walk without looking closely, one might just walk right by number 409 without seeing the logo on the door, that familiar Merge Records rectangle.
Founded by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan of Superchunk back in 1989, Merge is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. The label began in Chapel Hill and moved to its current Durham home 13 years ago, where they're still releasing acclaimed music from artists like Arcade Fire, Dinosaur Jr., Neutral Milk Hotel, and Spoon.
It's been a fruitful relationship for both Merge and Durham. The ranks of Merge artists are being filling out by local acts like Mount Moriah and longtime Merge artists like the Mountain Goats have relocated to Durham, where they've found a creative, welcoming community that fosters an artistic spirit.
”While quiet in Durham, Merge has been loud about Durham and put this place on the map for a lot of people,” said Sam Poley, Director of Public Relations for the Durham Convention& Visitors Bureau, the organization that markets Durham. “We appreciate their investment in Durham, and hope they have another 25 great years here,” Poley added.
Fans can celebrate Merge's history with them at the Merge 25K on March 22. They'll be following their own past, running from Chapel Hill to Durham and ending up at Motorco, where there will be a party featuring musical acts, food trucks, and more. It's a great way to celebrate one of the country's most renowned indie record labels and its relationship with the Bull City.