The Festival Guy is criss-crossing the continent this summer and catching every festival he can. This week he checks in from the four day Wakarusa Festival located in The Ozarks of Arkansas. See more of his travels at his official website.
Not only is it a great name for a music festival but if you google it you will discover that it means “ass deep.” After rain turned the venue into a giant mud pit in 2013, festivalgoers were ass deep in mud. Thankfully the festival gods rewarded this year’s crowd with beautiful weather leaving everyone ass deep in good times.
Wakarusa was on fire right from the get-go. The well organized staff kept camping lines moving fast which really set the tone for the weekend. This was one of those festivals that everyone there was sporting their biggest smile as they roamed the fairgrounds. It seemed that last year’s mud really made everyone appreciate how lovely everything was.
The festival did all the little things right to create such a fun festival environment. Everything was on schedule, the staff was incredibly friendly, the bathrooms stayed clean (although they could use a few more of them), and there was plenty of food vendors that offered a wide variety of delicious eats.
Wakarusa also offered a really solid music viewing experience. The main stage offered the big band festival experience where bands like STS9, The Flaming Lips, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros played. There was also two large circus tents that offered a more personal viewing experience. Weekend highlights here included Moon Taxi, Minnesota, and Fort Knox Five. The stage that makes Wakarusa so special is the Satellite Stage. Located down a hill and through the woods from the main venue this gem is one of the coolest stages you will ever come across in your festival travels. Highlights were The Funk Hunters, Wikit The Instigator, and Phuturprimitive.
One of the things that Wakarusa does differently than almost every other festivals is double booking artists. This year you had a chance to see Cherub, Boom Box, and The String Cheese Incident two different days on two different stages. It might sound redundant but it is really works to the fan’s advantage. If you are a casual fan of the band you can’t catch the act on your own schedule. If you are a diehard fan you get to experience the show twice which all but assures you will see your favorite act.
Festivals that are this fun normally have one problem; they end too soon. This was definitely the case with Wakarusa this year. After four days of blissing out to world class music while surrounded by so many beautiful people the Wakarusa crowd left with memories that will not be forgotten. This was not just a festival, this was something that you were apart of. One of those festivals that will be talked about for years to come.