2024 Wayne Henderson Music Festival to be the last

The Wayne Henderson Music Festival, a very popular performance and competition event in southwestern Virginia, has announced that this year’s 30th annual festival will be the last.

Wayne said that there are many reasons why this year’s will be the last, but surely high on that list is the fact that the internationally regarded guitar builder will turn 77 by festival time. Though officially retired, he still produces a limited number of the highly valued Henderson guitars each year, and it seems that this is as much as he wants to do going forward.

The Music Festival has always had a focus on young traditional musicians, and over the past three decades they have donated a half million dollars in scholarships for young pickers to further their musical educations.

In announcing the end of the festival, Wayne thanked the many people who have assisted his efforts this past three decades.

“We appreciate all the support from our patrons, donors, and volunteers over the years. Without you we would not have been able to reach our goal of awarding $500,000 in scholarships for young musicians to continue their musical journeys.”

The vaunted guitar contest at this last Wayne Henderson Music Festival is still a go, with the winner taking home a custom, handmade Henderson guitar.

Performers for the June 15 event include The Gibson Brothers, Presley Barker, The Kruger Brothers, and of course, Wayne Henderson. Tickets are only $20 and children 12 and under get in free.

The festival is held at the Grayson Highlands State Park, just off US 58 between Damascus and Independence, VA.

This will be a great loss for the bluegrass and old time communities in the region. Perhaps someone will arise to take over in Wayne’s stead.

Full festival details can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.