There is much to be said about the three-night extravaganza known as WayneStock that commandeered Relix Variety Theatre last weekend. But it would be hard to top the heartfelt homage paid by Daily Times writer Steve Wildsmith on his blog. The jamboree of local bands was both a benefit for and a tribute to News Sentinel music writer Wayne Bledsoe, whose son Andrew died in December.
You should really read Wildsmith’s entire post—he was one of the event’s organizers, along with Tim and Susan Lee—but to quote just a little: “It was perfection on every level, in every sense of the word; it was a weekend of light and love and joy and uplifting moments too numerous to be catalogued, too profound to be described. I can’t quite grasp the scope of how magnificent this weekend was, and I’m afraid to write too profusely about it, because no amount of words can describe how amazing it truly was. You had to be there. You just had to be there, because if you were, then you felt it — a thread of hope and goodness that weaved its way from heart to heart, wrapping us all close and shielding us from darkness.”
I was only able to make it to the Friday and Saturday night portions, missing Jake Winstrom, Greg Horne, Hudson K, and others on Thursday. But there were standout moments all weekend: Scott Miller joining Mic Harrison and the High Score onstage for a stomping rendition of Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money”; axeman Hector Qirko reuniting with R.B. Morris during Morris’ set with the Tim Lee 3; Tim Lee getting up to jam during Kevin Abernathy’s scorching set; Rus Harper slithering and swamp-thinging all over the stage while the Melungeons pounded out grimy garage grooves behind him; and many, many more. There were just as many reunions in the crowd as on the stage, with old friends greeting each other with hugs and backslaps, and the overall vibe was of a family congregating to help one of its own. Bledsoe himself was visibly moved by the entire weekend, applauding enthusiastically and giving and receiving hundreds of greetings and well wishes.
Wil Wright of Senryu may have summed it up best Saturday night, surveying the large, friendly crowd. “In Knoxville,” he said, “when something f--king horrible happens, we get together and try to make it better.”