On December 10, 2010, Andrew Bledsoe died suddenly, and the Knoxville music community was rocked by shock and grief.
Andrew was an active member of several local bands, but he was also the son of Wayne Bledsoe, long-time music scribe for the Knoxville News Sentinel who, since the 1980s, had helped hundreds of local musicians, artists and bands make a name for themselves. Some would go on to fame and fortune; others would toil on local stages on the weekends, working 40-plus hours during the week and giving everything they had to a handful of fans in smoky bars and clubs where the only notability they received was on the marquee or through the ink that Wayne gave them. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Knoxville music scene is what it is today thanks to Wayne Bledsoe.
So when his world crumbled, the scene stepped in to pick up the pieces. Over the course of a handful of weeks, we put together a music festival to benefit Wayne’s family, but more importantly, to lift him up in love and solace and empathy. If you were there, you know it was magic.
Over the next several years, Waynestock became an integral part of the yearly concert calendar around these parts, always returning to the same venue — Relix in Happy Holler — and always showcasing a broad spectrum of musicians who make this place so rich and beautiful. We’ve continued to raise money for individuals and organizations, but above and beyond the dollars that go to a good cause, we’ve put together what feels like a family reunion.
Love. Friendship. Art. Joy. Support. Laughter.
Family. Like William Wright yelled from the stage during that very first Waynestock, “When something bad happens, Knoxville, this is what we do: We come together and make it better!”
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s our privilege to announce the lineup for Waynestock X. We’ll return to Relix on January 30-February 1, and we hope you’ll join us for what has to be experienced to be understood as one of the most special weekends in town.