If you were wondering what festival is an absolute must this year, the answer is Wakarusa. Everything about this festival makes it the perfect destination for everybody from the casual festy goer to the seasoned summer traveler. It has the incredible environment of Mulberry Mountain which lies in the Ozarks of Arkansas, it has a great vibe and of course it has the best lineup this summer hands down.
The fun begins June 3 and runs through June 6 in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. As I said before the exact location is the top of Mulberry Mountain which is just 16 miles off of I-40. This year’s installment of Wakarusa includes great music plus a ton of other activities to get down on.
The stellar lineup starts off with the amazing list of headliners which include Widespread Panic, The Disco Biscuits, STS9, The John Butler Trio, Umphrey’s Mcgee, The Black Keys and Slightly Stoopid.
Widespread Panic is definitely one of the elite jam bands in the country and anywhere they go good times follow. I’ve seen Widespread Panic more times than I can count and believe me when I say it’s one of the best shows on the planet every time. The Disco Biscuits in a nutshell are a small capsule of insane fun that explodes the minute you get it down your throat. They are considered at the top of the livetronica acts out there today and have a cult following to back it up. STS9 is another livetronica band that brings heavy electronic grooves and an all out light show every performance. The John Butler Trio is an eclectic roots/ jam band from Australia led by guitarist and vocalist John Butler; I’ve yet to see this group live but from what I’ve heard it is a must see.
From there on the lineup has one incredible live act after another. Personally I am looking forward to seeing other electronic acts such as Bassnectar, Lotus, EOTO, the reincarnated Dub Tribe Soundsystem and many more. A lot of the electronic acts will be tearing it up at what Wakarusa calls its Interstellar Meltdown. It is considered the electronic festival within the festival and has electronica going just about all day and night.
If you’re in to more of the rock jam band scene you can check the legendary Blues Traveler, JJ Grey and MOFRO, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and for a more bluegrass feel there is the incredible Railroad Earth and Tea Leaf Green. Yet the artists go on and on so you should check out the full lineup and schedule on Wakarusa’s website.
Beyond the music there are activities galore to enjoy while you’re there. This year they have set up a carnival within the fest that includes a seven story Ferris Wheel to get the full view of the Ozarks and Mulberry Mountain. Another added bonus is the Silent Disco that will be going down at the main stage after it goes quiet each night. You’ll be given a two channel headset which you can switch from two different DJ’s. This should be especially fun on Friday night when the costume contest goes down and when I say costume contest I mean Halloween has nothing on the outfits that people throw on here.
There are also a plethora of outdoor activities the area has in store. There’s yoga, hiking, fishing, kayaking and float trips all in store for those who want to escape the summer heat during the day; and yes during the day on the mountaintop it gets hot, so make sure you bring a lot of water and way to cool off.
All and all this year’s Wakarusa should equate to the best one yet and definitely one of the premier festivals to hit. If you’re interested in going and have yet to buy a ticket you’re in luck because spaces are still available but probably for a limited time. Right now the full event price which is Thursday through Sunday is a total of $168. If you just want to go for the weekend pass which is Friday through Sunday it is $119 plus fees. There is also an additional charge for camping on the mountain which is currently $29.
I’ll say it again; on June 3 you should at Mulberry Mountain for Wakarusa. If you’re planning on going to Bonnaroo it makes perfect sense to leave a week earlier and hit a festival with a way better vibe. You can camp out in the Ozarks once the festival is over until you want to make your way up to Manchester. For more information on Wakarusa hit up their website.