Blogging Live from Wakarusa 2012: Arrival
I’m finally here! Entertainment at Wakarusa 2012 officially starts today, and things are busy up here on Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas. It feels great to be back at the pristine campgrounds as the festival patrons pour in from all corners of the country. My drive here from Kansas was smooth, and mostly uneventful. The weather has been a bit stormy at night but not unruly, and the festival grounds are buzzing with excitement. I think all of us share the anticipation of the next few days filled with family, friends, and music.
I must admit it’s a bit surreal to be able to check my email and access wifi on-site at a music and camping festival. This is my first chance to ever experience the festival as a member of the press. I feel quite special to have been selected as a blogger this year. I picked up my media pass yesterday and had a chance to get settled into my campsite near the convention center. I was able to meet some of the staff and volunteers who make this festival run smoothly. There are many hands involved in an operation of this size; grounds setup, security, coordinators, booking, promotions, and sound & lights, and more. I’m coming to notice that most of the staff wear several hats around here. Staff emphasize safety and efficient response systems for all operations of the festival. Many thanks to all who work year-round in preparation for this one week of instruments and voices in the great outdoors. Everyone I’ve met so far has been kind and helpful, contributing to the positive energy.
The most amazing part of this year’s Wakarusa has been watching the launch of the festival. Yesterday I arrived early and explored the venue while it was still fresh and new. Most of the five stages and layout were setup beforehand, but by this morning the empty fields were brimming with campsites. Musicians and vendors have been arriving steadily and filling the grounds with that carnival atmosphere. (I’m hoping to go for a spin on the ferris wheel!) As the gates opened and campers arrived, I was able to stand near Wakarusa Way and see the caravan of cars, everyone eager to set down camp and meet their neighbors. The first official music act begins today at noon, although there was a special kickoff late last night at the Backwoods stage with The 4onthefloor, Sumilan and Dumptruck Butterlips, offering us a chance to ease into festivities. I hope to check in with you again soon and share my experience as No Depression blogger, talking with some of the musicians and attending press conferences. I want to take in as much music as possible (one always has high expectations this early into the week) and let you know what I’ve seen and heard. It’s going to be so much fun; I’m just glad to be here once again in Waka-land!,