If you are a fan of the East Tennessee music scene, band manager Jason Knight has this piece of advice: Don’t miss WayneStock - For the Love of Drew.
“I know it’s only January but with this many Knoxville bands being together in a three-day period, this is definitely the event of the year,” Knight said. “If you’re a music fan, this is something you don’t want to miss.”
Knight manages both the Kevin Abernathy Band and Mic Harrison and The High Score, two of the bands picked to play at the event. He has also played a big role in putting WayneStock together.
WayneStock - For the Love of Drew is a three-day concert experience featuring an all-star lineup of local musicians and bands. It is set for Jan. 27, 28 and 29 at the Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N Central St., Knoxville.
Great music aside, WayneStock has another mission.
WayneStock is a tribute and benefit concert for News Sentinel music writer Wayne Bledsoe, who lost his 23-year-old son Andrew suddenly last month to what is believed to have been a latent heart condition. Andrew -- Drew to his friends -- was a local musician, and Wayne has been a part of the music scene in East Tennessee as a writer since 1984.
Knight said he was motivated to help because of how much he respects Wayne Bledsoe.
“Over the last few years since I’ve been working with Mic Harrison and Kevin Abernathy, I’ve really gotten to know Wayne,” Knight said. “Wayne is such a good guy. That was my motivation. I’m also a father of three kids, just like he is. On top of knowing him as well and being around him as much as I have the past few years, I wanted to do something because of this tragedy that hit him. I don’t think you have to have a kid for it to affect you. It was unthinkable.”
Knight said as soon the planners started talking about putting on a show; it pretty quickly became a two-night event. “Because so many wanted to be involved, we added a third night, a Thursday night,” he said. “There were so many people eager to help that it really snowballed, all in a positive way.
“Wayne has helped out and been a friend to so many musicians across the country,” Knight said. “He will tell you what he thinks, whether it is positive or not.”
Knight said when the idea for organizing the benefit concert started over lunch with other members of the Knoxville music scene. “Mic Harrison and Kevin Abernathy were first mentioned, and Mic was involved with putting it together. Steve Wildsmith, Tim and Susan Lee (Tim Lee Three), Wil Wright (Senryu) and Mic Harrison came together for lunch and got everything started,” he said.
Knight said he initially wasn’t sure what he could do to help but, as the group talked, connections started coming together.
“I had connections with a bank and connections with a friend who runs a sound company, and it snow-balled,” Knight said. “It all came together easily because others were eager to help.”
Knight has a cousin who works at a bank that helped them set up the Bledsoe Memorial Fund. He found someone to run sound for the concert, put two of his bands in the show and his wife, Andrea, agreed to help run the merchandise table at the shows.
The cooperation has been incredible, he said, another show of the respect for the Bledsoe family and the real desire for this to be something great, especially since Andrew was also a musician.
Knight said all the bands and acts are doing the show for free. All money raised will go to the Bledsoe family. Thursday night’s show is free and admission is $5 each night on Friday and Saturday. Waynestock will be at Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N. Central St., Knoxville.
Susan Lee created a website for the show at waynestock.org. There are also Facebook and Twitter accounts with information on the concerts.
On Thursday night, a songwriters-in-the-round session begins at 7 p.m. featuring Sean McCollough of the LoneTones, ex-Tenderhooks singer Jake Winstrom, Greg Horne and Steph Gunnoe. That will be followed at 9 p.m. by a set from the old-time string band the Bearded and a headlining performance by chamber-pop trio Hudson K at 10 p.m. Donations will be accepted for Thursdays performance.
Friday’s lineup is Quartjar, Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, the Kevin Abernathy Band, Mic Harrison and the High Score, the Melungeons, and the Drunk Uncles, a Maryville band.
The festival wraps on Saturday with performances by Katie and the Bass Drums, the Westside Daredevils, the Tim Lee 3, R.B. Morris, Senryu and Psychotic Behavior.
Other WayneStock events include:
Show-goers can purchase $5 raffle tickets to qualify to win a black Fender Squier Stratocaster guitar that will be signed by all “WayneStock” participants. The winner will be announced on Saturday night. The guitar was provided by Music Room Guitars, one of the WayneStock sponsors.
On Friday, the party continues after the last set for some karaoke. After The Drunk Uncles finish their set at 12:40 a.m., the event will move down the street to Toots Little Honky Tonk, 114 E. Anderson Ave., where Mike McGill of the Uncles (and the Bar Stool Romeos) will host a karaoke contest from 1 to 3 a.m. Participants can sign up ahead of time at Relix on Thursday and Friday nights and, for $2 per song, show the Toots crowd their talent. All proceeds will go to the WayneStock general fund.