By Cody Willmer, Circulation Manager
Temperatures were soaring into the low 100s, and there were 30,000 hipsters, ravers and other types hanging around within two square miles for four days. Throw in about 100 talented artists with the said 30,000 people tucked away into the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, and you have the Wakarusa music festival, taking place from June 2 through June 5 at Mulberry Mountain outside Ozark, Arkansas.
Upon arriving to the area, one is taken in by the breath-taking view of the Ozark Mountains, which are seemingly everywhere and never-ending once reached. The towns are small and much different than most of the small towns of Nebraska. Mulberry Mountain is not a resort. It is not a city. It is only natural amenities and primitive camping. The closest town is thirty minutes away down a long and winding road at the base of the mountain.
More important than the town itself is the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, which is held annually upon the arrival of summer. Wakarusa had its humble beginnings in Lawrence, Kansas in 2004. Since then, the festival has grown into a premier four-day camping festival similar to Bonnaroo. What separates Wakarusa from its peers is simply its location and size. It has a small town feel, whereas other festivals feel cramped and crowded. Those who have never attended a music festival before should consider first going to Wakarusa Here, one can learn the ins and outs and dos and don’ts in a much friendlier and relaxed setting then most other festivals.
This year’s Wakarusa featured an impressive line-up considering its low price tag. My Morning Jacket played their first major gig of the summer. Skrillex showed up and melted a few people’s faces off. Thievery Corporation played a fantastic set to at least three quarters of the possible crowd. Other big names included Mumford and Sons, Buckethead, EOTO, Bassnectar, STS9, Ghostland Observatory, Rebelution, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Ben Harper, Umphreys McGee, and even some local acts like Somasphere and Inflect.
All in all, one couldn’t have asked for much of a better festival. The price is well worth it. The venue is well worth it. The people are well worth it. The artists are well worth it. Combine all of those aspects together, and Wakarusa is born again each summer.