Headstash's WAKARUSA 2012 Preview Guide
- By Ryan Boyle, Rogena Ensign, John Manion and Patrick McGettigan
- Published on May 23, 2012
May 31 - June 3 – Ozark, AR
Full Event Pass: $179.00 + fees, VIP Full Event Pass: $635.00 + fees,
Camping Passes: $29.00-$99.00
9th year – Last year's attendance: 20,000 – Camping: Yes (Extra Cost)
The Wakarusa Music Festival started off its journey in 2004 at the beautiful Clinton State Park near Lawrence, Kansas. By 2009, Wakarusa’s reputation had been supplanted all across the country and it was time for a new, bigger location.
About 5,000 music lovers attended the first Wakarusa and now the festival has grown to over 20,000 strong. This year marks the fourth year at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas. Take in the mountaintop scenery, meet music fans from all around the globe and take a dip in the Mulberry River.
For more information on past events, check out our Wakarusa History Lesson feature.
Mulberry Mountain transcends into another world after the sun goes down. When the Main Stage shuts down around 2:30 a.m., the night is far from being over. The Revival Tent will keep you occupied with Savoy, Ghostland Observatory and Nobody Beats The Drum.
Still want more? Wakarusa is bringing back Interstellar Meltdown for the fourth year in a row. This electronic “festival within a festival” will host some serious late-night action with acts like Papadosio, NiT GRiT and Michal Menert.
End your night or start your day off right with sunrise sets from VibeSquaD, Clandestine and The Nadis Warriors. Who needs sleep?
The overall experience. Wakarusa is the full package with more than just music. Art installations, workshops, seminars and more make this festival one of the best in the country.
Being introduced to new acts. Wakarusa consistently books the best up-and-coming and local talent and the bill is as varied as it is long. Don't recognize a name? Check them out. Odds are someone who knows what they're doing booked them.
Meeting people from all over the country. The festival has people from every corner of the globe. Talk to your neighbors and see what their deal is.
The Ozark Mountains. As beautiful and scenic a backdrop as any festival in the country.
Playing in the Mulberry River. Be safe when you're there, but it's great to have a place to cool off in the Arkansas heat. Bonnaroo could benefit from a little water here and there.
The heat. Check the weather and pack accordingly. It's hot out there.
Spread out camping. If you're not camping in the main area, you may have to grab a bus or shuttle, which can be troubling. Again, plan ahead of time and make sure you have all your belongings.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and keep something in your belly so you have enough energy to rage from the afternoon bluegrass to the rocking headliners to the electronic sunrise sets.
Check the schedule. There's a ton of music at Wakarusa so make sure you have the schedule handy at all times.
Take a dip. Bring a baby pool, swim in the river or pour the occasional water bottle on your head. At the very least, wear a hat or bring an umbrella. Looking cool is secondary to staying cool.
Don’t forget your ticket. Check it right now. We'll wait . . . You've all seen that poor soul who can't find his at the gate. It's one of the most dreadful feelings, so don't let it happen to you.Bring cash and good vibes while you're at it.
Dont expect to get too much sleep. It's tough to sleep in the heat and with so much good music. Rest up beforehand and tough it out.
Wakarusa brings a diverse crowd of music fans thanks to the wide-range of genres in the lineup. It's not at every festival you can rage late night to MiM0SA with a couple of Deadheads. Add in Waka's stage decorations and art installations with nature on this secluded mountaintop and you've got the recipe for an unbelievable experience.
Who To Check Out . . .
Thanks to the Waka crew's mindfulness of diehard fans and their love for many sounds besides the ones that brought them out to Arkansas, you will likely be able to see almost everyone.
With the correct running/dancing shoes and a handful of five-hour energy shots, you will have no problem making it to all the shows you have marked down on your schedule. If you find yourself looking for guidance on some shows not to miss, then look no further:
Photo Credit: Patrick McGettigan
Railroad Earth. The bluegrass band hailing from Stillwater, New Jersey has been on a rampage this past year in such a way that even The String Cheese Incident decided to get their musical hands dirty with them in recent performances.
Railroad Earth performs on the Main Stage from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday and the Revival Tent from 10:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Friday.
The Infamous Stringdusters. People from the Arkansas and surrounding regions flocked to this band at Harvest Music Festival in 2010 and for a good reason. This bluegrass band from Tennessee has been keeping their name true by playing downright classic bluegrass and not budging.
The Infamous Stringdusters play at the Kum and Go Outpost on Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. or at George's Majestic Backwoods on Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Gramatik. The Pretty Lights Music label signed this guy from Slovenia because he had a knack for creating music and an interest in sharing it free of charge. He also has those hip-hop beats that make you bob your head without even noticing.
Gramatik plays the Grassroots California Satellite Stage on Saturday from 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Beats Antique. If you have not caught this belly dancing madness of a dance party yet, then do yourself a favor and check it out. Their encore is pretty dope – make sure to dress up like an animal and act like one, too.
Beats Antique plays Saturday night at The Revival Tent from 2:15 a.m. to 3:45 a.m.
Eric Mayers, Wakarusa's production manager, has made it a point to put Waka on the map for those looking to get their festival on. Improved sound quality at all the stages and non-stop music from noon to dawn performed by one of the most eclectic lineups for a major festival will certainly make this an unforgettable event.
Please be respectful and friendly and as always, try at least one new thing, as this is a cultural art movement centered around some absolutely amazing music.
Who's excited for Wakarusa? What are some of your favorite things about the festival or your do's and don'ts? Let us know in the comments below . . .