Wakarusa 2011. DAY ONE!
This lovely couple, Jess and Jack playing a soothing melody at our camp area. I met Jess and Jack yesterday while setting up. We wondered down to the Yoga area at one of the stages to meet up with some of their friends and on the way I saw some pretty hilarious stuff. You know the old dollar trick? You tie a dollar bill to a transparent string and leave it on the ground until someone tries to pick it up, only to end up chasing it. People were doing that with baggies of baking powder, doubling over in laughter every time they ripped it away from a hopeful festival attendee.
This is Jess’s “Fun Kit.” She brought a clown costume too. I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.
This is me and Tara LaSarge, one of many talented artists selling their art at Waka. Tara makes gigantic hula-hoops and leather bags. This was taken at about 11:30, just half an hour before the first bands played. It was almost like being in a zombie movie, walking around in a sea of people who were quietly talking amongst themselves. It was truly the calm before the storm and the energy was like, as a drunk girl explained to me, “it feels like this place is going to EXPLODE!”
At noon, Totojojo sounded off at the Revival Tent, and the sea of people turned to rivers; all leading to the stage. That drunk girl was right, the place did explode. I watched as much as I could before I had to be at my interview with Hoots and Hellmouth.
I was shocked to see the astronomical level of intensity Sean Hoots possesses on stage, as well as the rest of the band. The curly haired ginger man that met me earlier at the conference center was so calm and collected I was nearly convinced that he was the reincarnation of Buda. But on stage, Hoots bellowed his soul out to some pretty epic rockablues rifts. “This is our fourth year hear,” hoots said, “we’re becoming veterans at the ol’ Waka.” Started in 05′ Hoots and Hellmouth has gone through some changes, giving them an invigorating new sound since the fall. “Andrew Grey, with whom I started the band decided to go back to teaching at the end of the summer last year and that’s when we brought in the drummer.” Hoots and Hellmouth had previously not had a drummer but when they met Mike Reiley, their newest member, in the Philly music scene, he quickly became part of the band.
Hoots and Hellmouth have a young EP, Face First in the Dirt and are working on an LP scheduled to be released in the fall, both of which are entirely funded, “by the generosity of our fans,” said Hoots. “It’s pretty overwhelming at first, but now we feel completely beholden, we have to deliver now. This is our year of new material.” Hoots and I chatted a bit and went our separate ways, only to meet up again an hour later at the Artist Lounge while I was talking to HaHa Tonka. Just so happens, HaHa Tonka and Hoots and Hellmouth are collaborating on a second tour together in the fall.
This is me with HaHa Tonka. We sat down to have an interview which just turned into us shooting the shit for a few minutes. I felt privileged to educate the band on the wonders of K, a substance known to be used in hoarse tranquilizers. I had been offered a lot of K just before meeting them and felt like sharing this new found knowledge of intoxicants with the band. Brian Roberts, vocalist (far left) jokingly responded with, “Well I bet the record sounds a lot better on K,” referring to their newest album; Death of Decade. Death of a Decade was recorded in a barn New Paltz New York. A location discovered when the band was touring with Linfinity who recorded with Kevin Mcman, who owns the barn. The sound quality as well as the quality of the music is not what one would expect to be spawned from a barn. Which I think says a lot about the band, when you can record your album in a partial roofed barn and still produce beautiful work.
Here is Grace Potter preforming with what I can only describe as if Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin’s vocal chords had children, Grace Potter would be that child. She preformed with an awing soulful touch mixed with pure rock and moments of accapella that rained through the mountains. It was really a pleasure to see her. And trust me, she is just as beautiful in person as she is in her videos. She’s no air brush beauty, she’s stunning.
This guy danced like a chicken for the better part of an hour.
This is the view close to my camp site. I actually just spent twenty minutes taking pictures of that orange moon, to my surprise to moon kept getting larger the closer I walked to it. It wasn’t until I ran into the string holding the giant glowing orange balloon that I realized it wasn’t a lunar eclipse, but a balloon on a string. This was also the moment I realized I needed another beer.
-Ryan Wilks Koenig