Waynestock 2020: great music, loving support

Betsy PickleOur Town Arts

The Knoxville music community is a loving, supportive group.

Shortly after the sudden death of local musician Andrew Bledsoe, son of then-News Sentinel music writer (and my dear friend) Wayne Bledsoe, from a previously undiagnosed heart condition in December 2010, the scene put together a fundraiser for the Bledsoe family.

It was called Waynestock, and it helped the family with its unexpected expenses while showing Bledsoe its appreciation for his support of local music.

Encouraged by the success of the ad hoc winter festival, the original Waynestock organizers decided to continue the event through subsequent years, bringing to the stage some of Knoxville’s best and most popular musical acts.

2020 marks 10 years of combining the amazing talent of the scene with the huge heart of those who perform and support local music. Tonight through Saturday night, Waynestock will take over its traditional home, the Relix Variety Theatre, with music, raffles and good times while supporting a good cause – actually two of them.

Performances start at 7 p.m. today and Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. Bands will include Electric Darling, Senryu, Con Hunley with Mic Harrison & the High Score (with a special appearance by Scott Miller), the Pinklets, Kevin Abernathy, Melungeons, a special reunion of Psychotic Behavior (one of Andrew Bledsoe’s old bands), Mark Coram and Quartjar, along with several others. The Saturday finale is sure to include a who’s who of Knoxville’s musicians.

The beneficiaries are some of the most deserving Waynestock has ever supported. Bill Lamb, veteran of the groups Hot Blood and the Helltown Howlers, was in a devastating motorcycle accident last September. His recovery continues slowly, but he has a long road ahead of him.

Meanwhile, just eight days after Lamb’s accident, Rachel Gurley – veteran of Marina Orchestra and Paperwork and regular volunteer with Knoxville Girls’ Rock Camp – and her husband, Dave Williams, had a baby boy, Sutton, at 25 weeks and five days, weighing 2 pounds and 2 ounces.

Sutton was born with omphalocele, an abdominal wall defect wherein his organs were outside the wall, and he’s faced a myriad of problems since his delivery. He’s due for kidney surgery on Friday.

Money raised by Waynestock will be split between the two families. Admission is just $5 at the door each night, but attendees can also contribute by donating to some unique raffles.

Delaney’s life – in opera

Mark your calendars for Marble City Opera’s world premiere of “ShadowLight,” a one-act opera based on the life of Knoxville-born painter Beauford Delaney. The opera will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and 29, at the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave.

Brandon J. Gibson will sing the role of Delaney, who was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s before moving to Paris in the 1950s and thriving in abstract expressionism.

Though plagued by poverty, schizophrenic voices and suicidal thoughts, Delaney filled hundreds of canvases with the brightness of joy and hope. He was also beloved by countless artists and an inspiration to many, including writer James Baldwin, who will be portrayed by Vincent Davis.

“ShadowLight” was created by Larry Delinger & Emily Anderson and directed by James Marvel & Kathryn Frady. It is presented as part of “The Delaney Project: Gathering Light.”

Admission is $30 general and $15 student.

Betsy Pickle is a veteran entertainment, features and news reporter.


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