If you build it, I will come.
(No, really. Check out my location. I’ll be there.)
There are tons of great players in the area, and a really burgeoning bluegrass/Americana scene in Knoxville and the surrounding area. The absolute best source for the kind of information you’re after would be the fine folks at “East Tennessee’s Own” WDVX, a radio station in Clinton that plays this kind of music exclusively. They’re always promoting albums and shows by local performers, and would probably bend over backwards to help you find folks to play there.
One other thought is to drive up to the Disc Exchange on Chapman Highway and peruse their “local music” section. It’s pretty darned extensive, and if you haven’t been to the Disc Exchange yet, it’s worth the drive. It’s everything in the world a music store should be.
One more good idea. Call the nice folks at the Museum of Appalachia. Every fall they hold a “Homecoming” and feature tons of old-time players. If nothing else, there are always people playing on the grounds during the day, and most of them would probably jump at the chance to play out and make a few bucks in the process.
Finally, if you haven’t yet, you might check out the Front Porch in Cosby, which bills itself as “The world’s only Mexican bluegrass restaurant.” The food is pretty good, there are local pickers (I believe) every Friday and Saturday, and not too far away you can buy a quart of moonshine that will strip the paint off your car.
Hope this helps, and best of luck. If you can save that town’s soul, you deserve a medal.