Wakarusa 2012 gearing up to hit the Ozark mountaintop once again
I would be the ideal man on the ground to get the inside scoop. As I am no stranger to festivals. This is most definitely my element. I have an uncanny ability to pick apart situations and digest them into comprehensive and entertaining reads. Such that I am not only describing what is taking place, but how the the music affects both mine and others psyches. This way, I will be able to paint a perfect picture of the sets I attend. After reading my entries you should be able to have such a feel for this festival that you may as well have been there. I will also provide pictures of sets/people/places in order to provide a full visualization of the Wakarusa experience.
Wakarusa is getting ready to take Ozark by storm once again. It is a festival guaranteed to ask no quarter and give none. This will be my fourth year attending Wakarusa in Ozark, Arkansas and I must say I am quite excited for this year. The number of patrons has increased steadily over these past few years and this year will by far be the largest. Thousands of young ragers will show up and will not be disappointed to say the very least. Music is scheduled from early afternoon all the way into the wee hours of the morning for that extra hard core of Wakarusians. Also for those that somehow manage to wake up early of their own accord (sun permitting) there is yoga and all other types of group activities scheduled for the morning hours. This year’s lineup is pretty enticing. While not as solid as I have seen in the past, the diversity makes up for it with ease. From heavy hitters like Primus all the way to jam savants Umphrey’s McGee, dub/house/electro on steroids EOTO, and smaller but well known bluegrass band Railroad Earth. Also included is just about every variation of electronica music on the scene today. Even That 1 Guy known for being able to play just about anything including a boot. You can go catch Hot Buttered Rum’s smooth bluegrass sound and jump straight into Primus with Claypool’s frenetic bass lines then into EOTO’s filthy dubstep whomp. The possibilities are quite mouthwatering, and I’m sure many of my fellow festival goers will agree. There are many tents and stages provided by Wakarusa. There is the Satellite stage (for more electronica based artists), the Outpost (for smaller artists not quite big enough for the Revival tent). The Revival tent is for fairly well known acts of all genres. Sometimes a band that played the Mainstage their first night will play the Revival their second. The Mainstage is of course for the largest acts. It boasts a much bigger setup than past years and I assume will be bigger this year than last. The sound system is also quite impressive. Guaranteed to assault you with only the deepest psyche-penetrating bass and soaring melodies. I prefer this festival over one such as Bonnaroo, because you get the music and intimate environment without the hordes of people and hassle. Wakarusa is a far cry from the commercial Manchester-based festival.
A very important component of this whole experience is the surrounding nature. Ozark is one of the most beautiful places in all of Arkansas, and the mountaintop does not fail to capture a perfect taste of it. Festival goers can journey to a river down the highway south of the mainstage area to enjoy a cool refreshing dip, which provides much needed asylum from the harsh June sun. Also closer by (but a heck of a walk back uphill) is the waterfall that has become very popular over the past four years. There are various camping locations scattered over the mountaintop. The primary and most convenient (and expensive) is mainstage camping, the second closest is Westwoods across the highway. The furthest away would be satellite camping. Bus transportation will be provided for those of us camping in satellite. This service has been much improved over the past few years as it used to be a mad dash to even clamor aboard a bus. I expect this year to be go much more smoothly despite the larger crowd. They have had much experience and learned many a lesson these past few years. All this being said, I highly recommend this festival to every jam band aficionado. Even those that are green to the festival scene. This festival provides a smooth transition into such an environment. Most people are spontaneous and caring, and are not afraid to lend a hand or advice. I forsee many being converted this year to smaller festivals. As the vibe and overall atmosphere is much more palatable than that of Bonnaroo or Hangout.
See you on the mountaintop!