Wakarusa 2011 : Almost as much fun to say as it is to go.
Summers have always existed. May through September was not purely of indolence or an escape from the hazards of winter and demands of scholastic achievement. Summer didn’t yearn for purpose. It must have had one. Barbeques, swim parties, fireworks, popsicles – all these wonderful things, and those similar, surely gave meaning to summer before 1967, Monterey and Jimi. However, if they did, their place has been forever overshadowed by two words: music festivals.
In the summer, the best, most exciting bands play to adoring, enthusiastic festival-goers who are not concerned about beating traffic or getting to bed early, but just feeling the music. The disregard for body odor, fashion sense and the supposed necessity of running water supplement the ambience created by the sounds of those who’ve made it and those who keep trying. You can establish a name for yourself at a festival. You can solidify the love of the fans you’ve already earned. If you’re like me, out there in the crowd with hands waving and feet dancing, you can discover someone entirely new, catch the sensation when the breeze comes in just right and the voice behind the mike speaks something so directly to your soul you wonder how in the world you expressed yourself before this moment.
I’ve seen live shows everywhere – dive bars, holes in the wall, amphitheaters, casino basements, sporting arenas – but nothing was better built for music than the great outdoors. With no walls to contain the excitement, you can pack a few thousand individuals onto any sort of small, bucolic strip of land and create pure magic. Wakarusa 2011 should be no different.
The Ozarks present an amazing backdrop for the stellar line-up this year, giving of themselves to amplify the sounds of everyone from My Morning Jacket to Umphrey’s McGee. While the headliners will no doubt rock and bring the crowds, it’s the undercard that will make it worth the price of admission. Frontier Ruckus, Ha Ha Tonka, Those Darlins – these are not just names to drop, but performers worthy of an individual going to great lengths to catch them at a local concert venue. The beauty of it is you don’t have to wait for them to roll into your town. Just plant yourself in the Ozark Mountains the first weekend of June and enjoy it as they rock the pants and prairie skirts off those at Wakarusa. I am sure there are others of equal acclaim which will be unearthed over that three day weekend, and if lady luck finds me deserving, I’ll be in that crowd, experiencing my first Wakarusa, discovering these new gems with you, my hands waving and feet dancing celebrating the best part of summer – a music festival.