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KNOXVILLE FESTIVALS: WayneStock Music Festival

KNOXVILLE FESTIVALS: WayneStock Music Festival

Knoxville may be known to some as a hidden gem of the south but it is quickly becoming a mecca for live music enthusiasts in the southeast. It’s one of the only places I know where you can catch live *and completely FREE* music acts pretty much every day thanks to the WDVX Blue Plate Special. On top of this, our festival scene continues to not just grow but thrive with annual events like the internationally known Big Ears Festival, Second Bell Music Fest, and the more recent addition of Southern Skies Music Festival. With all this and so much more, our scruffy little city isn’t messing around when it comes to live music.

It doesn’t stop there though. Once you start to dive a little deeper into the local music scene, you’ll quickly discover Knoxville’s music community isn’t just a few bands consisting of friends who all knew each other in high school. It’s made up of an amalgamation of musicians, producers, journalists, radio and podcast hosts, promoters, venue owners, general enthusiasts (aka the friends of the bands who end up going to countless shows to show support), and many other unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes all for the love of music and each other. Enter WayneStock: For the Love of Drew. 


WayneStock is an annual local music festival that is honestly less of a music fest and more of a love fest of local Knoxville musicians. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Who, pray tell, is Wayne and why does he have a whole festival named after him?” Honestly, valid question. The first time I heard about it, I had flashbacks to old SNL skits (Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth). However, the festival’s namesake comes from Wayne Bledsoe, a revered figure in Knoxville’s music community who has played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s musical landscape. With a career spanning decades as a music journalist, radio host, and fervent supporter of local artists, Bledsoe has become somewhat of a local living legend. His deep passion for music and tireless efforts to champion the local scene make him a pillar among Knoxville’s musical community.

While all of this alone might be enough for Knoxvillians to name a local music fest after him, the inaugural event was, sadly, conceived by Bledsoe’s friends as a way to honor his son, Andrew, after he suddenly passed away in 2010. The first festival came together within weeks in 2011 and the money raised went to Wayne’s family to help with costs associated with his son’s service. He had been so supportive of the music community for so long and this was the chance for the community to show their support back to Wayne. Every year since then, that same spirit lives on with proceeds from each annual event benefiting different individuals or organizations in need.

photo of the venue from happyhollerevents.com

Why Is It a Fave Fest??

WayneStock is an annual testament to community, collaboration, and the unyielding spirit of Knoxville’s music scene. With a lineup that mirrors the eclectic influences of the city, WayneStock encapsulates the essence of Knoxville’s diverse and thriving musical community. Not only does the festival bring together musicians from various genres, it also offers a platform for both emerging talents and seasoned artists to share their craft with a passionate audience. Local musician Sarrenna, who will take the stage on night one of the fest, says, “Waynestock is the best weekend of the year for the local music scene. All my favorite people come together to create 3 special nights of fun while simultaneously raising money for some of our own. You will see the best of who’s playing in Knoxville right now, a reunion show of Dishwater Blonde (🙀) and a best of the best finale tribute set that’s never to be missed!” One of Wayne Bledsoe’s unstated missions is to, “Give Knoxville music the attention it deserves” and WayneStock definitely aids in this pursuit. 

In addition to Sarrenna, acts in this year’s lineup include Maggie & Owen (they get a shout out because I sang Live Band Karaoke with them one time 😂), Econopop, Gamenight, Cruz Contreras and more. 

Tips from your Festie Bestie:

👉 DO bring cash. It is CASH ONLY at the door and only $10 buckaroos each night (this is honestly a great deal). Cards are accepted at the bar but cash still reigns as king in these here parts.
DON’T go to ONLY one night! I know, I know. If you’re like me, going out TWO… let alone THREE nights…IN A ROW is a very tall order but to get the full experience (and see all the great acts) you’re gonna have to plan on going the whole weekend. I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules.
👉 DON’T show up by yourself. I am a pretty big fan of flying solo to any and all events but if you’ve never been, this will most likely feel like you’re crashing a family reunion as it will seem like everyone knows everyone because well, they do. Bring a group of friends to hang out and enjoy the music.
👉 DO check out the other establishments in Happy Holler while you’re there! Grab dinner at Central Flats and Taps or a drink at The Oak Room beforehand.
👉 And finally, DON’T let the support for local music stop here. Find your new favorite singer-songwriters and bands and go to their shows (and buy their merch if they have it!).

So if you’re new to Knoxville or maybe just new to the local music scene, Waynestock is definitely a festival you’re gonna wanna check out. It’s one of those events that makes me fall in love with Knoxville all over again and hopefully will do the same for you. See you there! 


What to Do for Valentines Day in Knoxville, TN

What to Do for Valentines Day in Knoxville, TN


The Scruffy City is our Valentine 😍 And we mean that, but we also doooo still have a soft spot for our, you know, human Valentines as well 😂 So if you feel similarly, we’re here to help you celebrate both your human AND city loves! Without further ado, here are a bunch of fun ways to celebrate Valentines Day in the Scruffy City:


Sure, sure, we’ll give you plenty more ideas of things to do on Valentines Day but we all know the main event: DINNER. However you feel about Valentines Day, we will never be mad about an excuse to have a bougie meal out on the town 😂 Here are some spots pulling out all the stops for V-Day!

SOUTH KNOXVILLE: Simpl on Sevier is holding down the fort on the south side with a 5-course dinner. Come for the food but stay for the freaking festive pink walls. Instagram-boyfriends, prepare yourselves. Snag your tickets here!

DOWNTOWN KNOXVILLE: Feeling Mediterranean? Head to Kopita for 6-courses for $50. Want to avoid the crowds? Check out the 5-course “Caymus Wine Dinner” at The Press Room on February 15th. Want to check out a newer spot downtown? Frothy Monkey is offering a 3 course “Frothy Love Valentines Dinner” for two for $65/couple on the 13th & 14th!

OLD CITY: Osteria Stella is offering a 6-course tasting menu on Valentines Day. You can tack on a wine pairing as well but weeee suggest saving some room for dessert – ie. an espresso martini next door at Brother Wolf. CHEF’S KISS, baby, CHEF’S KISS.

Get out of the city completely and take a lil jaunt to Maryville to experience Valentines Day in Diamondjack Wine Bar’s new space! They’ve got a 5-course dinner on the menu just for you.

WEST KNOXVILLE: The Plaid Apron has a dreeeamy 3-course farm-to-table menu for you tucked inside Sequoyah Hills.

Rom Com Trivia is happening at Xul Beer Co


NORTH KNOXVILLE: Xul Beer Co is here for all Rom-Com fans! They’re hosting rom-com trivia on Valentine’s Day and anyone and everyone is invited to impress the masses with their rom-com knowledge. Not to brag but we’ve been preparing our whole lives for this…


NORTH KNOXVILLE: First up, throw some axes! Craft Axe Throwing has a cute lil date night planned for you and “the one” (or, you know, snag a pal and take the opportunity to let off some steam if “the one” turned out to be “the worst”). For $35, you get an hour of axe throwing for two, two beers, a gift, aaand a chance to win a giveaway if you book before 4PM on the 14th!

DOWNTOWN: Or throw some bowling balls in what is definitely Knoxville’s coolest bowling alley! Maple Hall is renting lanes for $45/hour, including shoe rentals and a sweet Valentines treat! (Or make it a double date and split that coooost, baby!)


SOUTH KNOXVILLE: Alliance Brewing is back with a tradition we can get behind: Valentines Day Chocolate & Beer Pairing! Two of our favorite things in our favorite city 🥲 Each pairing includes four tastings of Alliance beers paired with four different chocolates from Lirio Chocolate. They’ll start at 3pm on Valentines Day and go until their sold out! Down the street and a few days before, Printshop Beer is hosting their own pairing with chocolate, beer, and cheese. It’s going down on Sunday, February 11th and you can get your tickets in advance right here.


OLD CITY: What says love like making something super fragile and breakable? 😉😂 Pretentious Craft Co. is offering a Valentines Day special for ya! You’ll get 2 drink tickets, 2 workshops (total of 40 minutes), aaaand (of course) you get to take home whatever you choose to make – all for $225. You ALSO get a glass rose which is truly the perfect blend of Cinderella and Belle. We’re here for it. Email info@pretentiousglassco.com for details or to go ahead and book your spot!


Okay, okay these aren’t necessarily ON Valentines Day, but they are Valentines Day THEMED and thus… they’re makin’ the list.

WEST KNOXVILLE: On Sunday, February 11th, head to Hey Bear Cafe for their Valentines Market! As much as we love shopping, you definitely need to try some boba tea off their Valentines Day menu.

That’s all for now, ya lovebirds! What are YOU doing for Valentines Day in the Scruffy City? (PSSSST we’ve got even more date ideas right here.) And should we do a wrap up of Galentines Day tooooo? You know what, yes. We definitely should. K then, see you soon 😘😘

7 Days of Live Music in Knoxville

7 Days of Live Music in Knoxville

Whether you’ve got a taste for bluegrass (welcome to Tennessee!), jazz (oh you fancy), or you prefer some acoustic strumming to accompany your beer sipping, here’s where to find FREE live music in Knoxville, Tennessee  seven days a week. While our neighbor to the west may be more well known for her music scene (have you heard of a little place called Nashville?), our favorite lil scruffy city (Knoxville, duh) certainly holds her own when it comes to live music opportunities. After all, Dolly herself would make the trek over from Sevierville to Knoxville to perform at just ten years old.



  • Tuesdays are more known for trivia here in Knoxville (seriously, there are endless options for Trivia Tuesday), but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch some live music! Head to Jig & Reel on Tuesdays to catch the Old Time Jam With Sarah Pirkle. Feel free to just listen and enjoy over some scotch – or take an instrument off the wall and join the party!
  • Depending on the season, you can usually catch free jazz on Tuesdays as well! In the colder months, catch it inside The Emporium on Gay St. In warmer months, various jazz bands & trios take the Market Square outdoor stage and the vibe is IMMACULATE.
  • The WDVX Blue Plate Special happens almost every single day. It’s is a live performance radio show held at noon inside Visit Knoxville in Downtown Knoxville & hosts a wide array of musicians from around the region!



  • Backdoor Tavern is a Knoxville classic nestled in Bearden. They have live music periodically through the week, but Thursdays specifically are Open Mic Jam Nights on their outdoor stage!
  • In the summer, head back to Market Square every third Thursday of the month for variety concerts! Grab a pal & a lawn chair & make a day of it in Downtown Knoxville.
  • Earlier in the day – you guessed it – The WDVX Blue Plate Special is live inside Visit Knoxville at noon!


  • Fridays are STUFFED FULL of live music! You can usually find it at places like Albright Grove Brewing Co. (their patio is divine), Scruffy City Hall & Preservation Pub, Pour Taproom, Backdoor Tavern, Barley’s Taproom & Pizzaria, Barrelhouse by Gypsy Circus, and honestly like a zillion other places 😂🙌 Take a stroll through town & find your favorite!
  • Remember that The WDVX Blue Plate Special? It still happens at noon, but on Fridays they take a field trip over to Barley’s Taproom so you can enjoy lunch as you listen!
5 Ways to Live Sustainably in Knoxville

5 Ways to Live Sustainably in Knoxville

Let’s be honest – the last few years have allowed time for far too many documentary binges. We’ve had two hour deep dives on everything from dairy and sugar to aliens and sustainability. Since writing about aliens feels like a bit of a leap for this site (it’s New2Knox, not New2Earth, after all), we figured we’d share all things sustainable living in Knoxville instead. If you’ve watched a few documentaries yourself, or you’re simply feeling motivated to live a more waste-free lifestyle, here are 5 ways to live sustainably in the Scruffy City!

1.) Waste-Less & Mackle-More

That was a less-than-clever way to say that Knoxville is stuffed with awesome thrift shops! From furniture to clothing to whozits and whatzits galore, there’s no need to buy it new. And the hunt can be pretty fun! You can always stick to the classics like Goodwill and KARM, but definitely don’t stop there. Pop Weasel, Retrospect, Ladies of Charity, and French Fried Vintage are some (of many) fun places to thrift in North Knoxville. In Bearden, check out spots like Nostalgia and Four Seasons. Head to downtown Clinton for essentially an entire street of antique shops. Did you know there’s even a Netflix show about thrifting in East Tennessee? (Or that we lowkey binged said show in about two days?🙃) Basically, this town was made for thrifting. Go forth, you sustainable babe, you.

KnoxFill makes sustainable living in Knoxville easy

Image from @knoxfill

2.) That Refill Life

We only heard about KnoxFill this past year (which isn’t terrible, since she only launched this past year), but we quickly became obsessed. KnoxFill provides refills on sustainably-made (and legitimately good) cleaning products, shampoo, laundry detergent, you name it. They work with super intentional suppliers (shout out to Knox Girl Soap) and will literally come to your doorstep to take empties and leave refills. (Or you can opt to take advantage of their pick-up locations, thus having an excuse to hang out at Jack’s or CommonPlace. No judgement here 😉) All that and she whips out fun and educational reels on the ‘gram?! Sign us up.

sidewalks and greenways connect Knoxville

3.) Ride On, Cowboy

There are actually a handful of ways to reduce the carbon footprint your car is leaving around here! First, Knoxville is riddled with connecting greenways and sidewalks. These can literally get you from one side of the city to the other on your bike (or a nice, inconveniently long walk). We’ve got a guide to greenways for you here or another great resource for navigating these is Outdoor Knoxville! You can even get a recycled and restored bike from Two Bikes to feel two times better about yourself.
If sustainable living in Knoxville was your New Year’s resolution but exercising was decidedly not, there’s still hope. Knoxville’s getting 12 new all electric city buses early this year! The trolley-clad buses downtown are even free. (I so hope you knew those adorable trolleys were actually buses pretending to be trolleys before this moment…😬)

Image from Happy Cow

4.) I Love Eat Earth

We all need to eat – so why not do so sustainably? In peak season, there are various farmers markets all over Knoxville where you can shop local and support people right in your community. We’re particularly excited that Nourish’s Winter Market is staying in Market Square this year! (Because supporting your community and shopping sustainably is even better after enjoying a mimosa downtown😉) Between markets, you can hit up spots like Three Rivers Co-Op in North Knoxville (also great for a quick lunch) or take advantage of things like Market Wagon (they basically can bring the farmers market to your doorstep).

composting is a way to live sustainably in Knoxville

5.) Do The Most & Compost

Remember when everyone was saying, “There’s an app for that”? Well, there’s a local Knox biz for that. If you’re new to the world of composting, the Green Heron is the local business you need. They’ll set you up with what you need to get started, personally pick up your compost throughout the year, and then distribute it straight to area farms. Boom. [Com]posted.