Wayne Henderson Festival 2013

This report and photo gallery from the Wayne Henderson Festival in Mouth of Wilson, VA comes from Andy Garrigue. The festival is part stage show and part guitar competition, with the winner receiving a custom Wayne Henderson guitar. Proceeds from the one-day event go towards scholarships for young musicians. $17,000 in grants were awarded this year.

Henderson FestivalAfter a great day of fine music in a beautiful southwest Virginia setting, Waynefest 2013 marched towards its most exciting aspect – the awarding of the winner of the annual guitar competition, who receives a brand new Henderson guitar, straight from Wayne’s workbench. Allen Shadd of Lake Wylie, SC earned first prize amongst 20 entrants, with dazzling renditions of Sweet Georgia Brown and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Almost as exciting was the picking of the raffle winner, who for a $50 entry won a priceless Henderson guitar. Cedar Creek Custom Case Shoppe donated four custom “Henderson” cases to the festival, to hold the Henderson guitars presented to Cash, the Quebes, the contest winner, and the raffle winner.

When Wayne Henderson took the stage as the last act to perform, he was joined by a “band of geezers” as he called them – including Robin Kessinger, Ben Cockman, Gerald Anderson, Steve Lewis, and others. True to Wayne’s spirit, he also called up a half dozen or more talented young musicians, each of whom has been awarded study grants from his scholarship fund. Brandy Miller, Daniel Greeson, Lucas White, Zeb Snyder, and others impressed mightily, and showed the future of the region is in good musical hands. Two sisters from Texas were even brought out by Wayne, and wowed the crowd with their gypsy jazz stylings on guitar and fiddle.

The after party may have been as impressive as Waynefest itself. Once the festival concludes, Henderson welcomes all comers to his house for a church supper of barbeque and homemade desserts, and spontaneous jam sessions spring up all over his property, with the sound of fingerpicking lasting until the wee hours of the night.

On this day and night in Rugby, Virginia, it truly is “Wayne’s World,” and what a wonderful world it is.