"Waynestock: For the Love of Drew" music festival, founded by Knoxville News Sentinel music writer Wayne Bledsoe, returned for its fourth year to Knoxville's Relix Variety Theatre on Thursday night. The festival will continue through Saturday.
Bledsoe created this community-focused music festival in 2011 after the tragic loss of his son.
"I am friends with many local musicians," Bledsoe said in a phone interview with The Daily Beacon. "When my son died they came together to support him; that meant a lot."
During Waynestock's first year, Bledsoe had the idea that the festival could open the Knoxville community's eyes to the large amount of musical talent present in the city.
"I've tried to showcase a lot of musicians from the local music scene and let people know that these are great musicians, you should go out and see them," Bledsoe said.
Attending this event not only benefits the fans and artists, but all proceeds will go to E.M. Jellinek Center, a non-profit organization that has provided housing and comprehensive treatment for chemically dependent men since 1971.
In 2011 the festival was dedicated to Bledsoe's son. The following year was dedicated to the loss of another Knoxville musician, Phil Pollard.
Bledsoe decided to reach out to the Community School of the Arts after-school music program as the recipient of Waynestock's proceeds.
By doing this, the festival has raised the community's awareness of local talent, as well as provided a set venue for multiple bands to play. Bledsoe said this gives the musicians the opportunity to garner even more local support.
This year the event will include 16 different performances throughout the three days. Some of the performances include J.C. and the Dirty Smokers, Dixieghost, Crumbsnatchers and the Greg Horne Band.
J.C. and the Dirty Smokers, a group that specializes in honky-tonk music, is taking the stage for its first time at Waynestock this year.
"I'm really excited about getting the chance to play with all the bands in this area," said J.C. Haun of J.C. and the Dirty Smokers. "Knoxville is a great community in regards to the musicians."
Greg Horne, a popular Knoxville musician and a veteran to the Waynestock festival is looking forward to performing.
"I've been honored to be a part of the past Waynestocks," Horne said. "This year I'm bringing my new rock band for the first time on Thursday night, then joining the Lou Reed tribute on Saturday."
Horne's band took the stage Thursday, following the Songwriter Symposium.
The Relix Theatre is serving as the venue for Waynestock for the fourth year in a row. During the past years, several hundred have attended each night and the theater is expecting nothing less this year.
"We are grateful to be a part of it and host it," said Daniel Schuh, Relix representative. "People see the strength of the community, and musicians are the heart of it."
Bledsoe echoed this statement and tied it in to his vision for the event as a whole.
"People leave pretty astounded at how much great music there is here." Bledsoe said. "Local music is the best value this town has to offer."
Admission is $5 per night. Each night the festivities will begin at 7 p.m. The final performance will be a tribute to American singer-songwriter, Lou Reed.
For more information and a full lineup visit waynestock.org.