For the past two years, the Wakarusa festival located in the Ozarks of Arkansas has engrossed my attention as soon as May rolls around. I usually attend the season opener, Summercamp, before I begin my trip to the Ozarks. But while I’m there all I can think about is the adventure that awaits the following week. As we pull up to venue, were engulfed in the mountains and “One More Silver Dollar” by the Allman Brothers Band begins softly on the radio as it did when we arrived the previous year. It’s become somewhat of a tradition between my Wakarusa family and I.
We make a pit stop in the river before grabbing our camping passes down at the Riverside Camping area. The heat of the Ozarks is well over 95 degrees but as soon as we hit the water no one seems to care. We have arrived and all of us are ecstatic about where are right there and then to complain. After we grab our passes we head up to the festival grounds, park up, and begin unloading our home for the next for days. I add the final touch by hammering a Bump sign that I acquired back at home and I paint the word “Camp” at the top of the sign.
Now that we’re “Camp Bump,” we stock up on drinks head to Revival Tent where Buckethead has begun to play. My silly self made a pit stop at a KFC along our journey just for this moment. I put it on my head and begin to get down. The atmosphere is already “”bumpin'” and everyone seems to be loving the crazy guitar riffs onstage. Once he’s done, Beat’s Antique hits the stage and the sun begins to go down. As we all know, when the sun goes down, the weirdo’s come out. And let’s face it, that’s half the reason we attend these things. The next four days are definitely a blur but it’s hard not to forget STS9’s throw down session, Vibesquad at 6 in the morning, Umphrey’s Mcgee having yet another spectacular set, and Beat’s Antique’s colab with Eoto the very last night of the festival.
I could go into a great deal of detail of all the memories we created that year but no one wants to read a whole essay. All in all, Wakarusa, never failed to lose my attention and brought back all the magic that flowed the year before. It’s a journey all of us should make before we die and is the experience of a lifetime.