Hailed as one of the most-anticipated festival line-ups of the season, the third annual Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival, presented by New Belgium Brewing Company, is set to thoroughly satisfy concertgoers, slated for June 8-11 at Clinton State Park near Lawrence, Kan. The event will combine four days of live entertainment with camping and other outdoor activities.
Wakarusa exploded on the national festival scene during its second year in 2005, selling out to an estimated 15,000 concertgoers per day, attracting attendees from all 50 states and five foreign countries. With a stellar line-up of musical acts scheduled to perform, another sell out is expected in 2006 – which would make Wakarusa once again one of Kansas' biggest tourism attractions.
All-in-all, around 150 acts will perform on seven stages at this year's festival, including Lee's HomeGrown Music Stage, which features Battlerusa winners and more, and then turns into an electronica/DJ stage late at night. New to Wakarusa this year is The Porch, which is Wakarusa's answer to a coffee house/beer garden, and will showcase acoustic acts by professional performers and an "open mic" for amateurs.
More than 80 performers are top-billed acts from a variety of musical genres, including: The Flaming Lips, Gov't Mule, Les Claypool, Disco Biscuits, Oteil and the Peacemakers, Todd Snider, Gabby La La, Bob Schneider, Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, Jackie Greene, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Truckstop Honeymoon, The Avett Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Del Castillo, Virginia Coalition, Groovatron, Green Lemon, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, Bootyjuice, Benevento-Russo Duo, ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra), Cracker, Donna the Buffalo, Jake Shimabukuro, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Brandi Carlile, Delta Nove, Backyard Tire Fire, The Yonder Mountain String Band, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Keller Williams, Gomez, The Greyboy Allstars, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Cat Empire, Assembly of Dust, The Mutaytor, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Railroad Earth, Bernie Worrell and the WOO Warriors, Buckethead, Perpetual Groove, Tim Reynolds, New Monsoon, Shooter Jennings, Tea Leaf Green, Brother's Past, Split Lip Rayfield, Pnuma Trio, Lucero, MOFRO, Camper Van Beethoven, Lotus, Andrew Bird, Shanti Groove, Yard Dogs Road Show, Rose Hill Drive, and Honeytribe featuring Devon Allman. Sound Tribe Sector Nine (STS9), Moonshine Still, Daniella Cotton, William Elliot Whitmore, Papa Mali, Hot Buttered Rum, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Chris Berry & Panjea, Bassnectar, Will Hoge, Full Throttle, White Ghost Shivers, 56 Hope Road, Alfred Howard & the K23 Orchestra, Speakeasy, Hillstomp, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Four Fried Chickens and a Coke, Samantha Stollenwerck, Hackensaw Boys, and Deep Fried Pickle Project.
Tickets for Wakarusa are on sale via the website at www.wakarusa.com and a number of point-of-sale box offices in cities through out the country (check out the website for a complete list). A limited number of $99 Early-Bird tickets are still available at these box offices, however these special tickets are sold-out via the website. Passes are sold as four-day tickets or single-day tickets and include camping and free parking. Camping upgrades and special VIP tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For complete information, including an update of scheduled artists, visit the Wakarusa website. "At less than a dollar per set of music –not to mention all the other extras like free camping– this represents the best value imaginable," said Brett Mosiman, Co-Director of the festival.
Wakarusa offers a full-vacation package. For those choosing to take a break from the music, various activities will again be available. Here are the highlights:
"Mardi Gras" Parade and Costume Contest – Bring your beads, because everyone is invited to participate in what will no doubt become an annual festival event. Whatever stupefying display you can think of to fit into a parade is welcome to join us – drummers, jugglers, clowns, street performers, floats – you name it! The event ends with a costume contest sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company, who will present a grand prize of two VIP tickets to the 2007 festival, as well as a "follow your folly" custom cruiser bicycle. Here's how it works: Saturday evening at 5 p.m., parade participants will gather at the Campground Stage and proceed down Wakarusa Way, led by none other than New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Brass Band, ending at the Sun Down Stage, where costumes will be judged by festival staff and the public. Non-participants are welcome to join in by lining the street and cheering the others on. Now is the time to get started creating your wildest costumes! The more people who participate, the better it will be – so please plan to join us!
Yoga – From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Friday through Sunday, festival-goers can reconnect with Big Mother through yoga at the Campground Pavilion tent. Yoga is free, and is the perfect way to prepare for an intense day of enjoyment – Wakarusa style.
Drum Circle – Last year, Wakarusians participated in the first annual Sunday morning drum circle, which drew hundreds of participants, including performers at the festival, generating an inspirational creative energy. Sunday at noon, festival-goers are again invited to congregate near the Sun Down Stage for this exciting and moving percussion experiment. Bring your own drums and beat makers, and tell your friends – we'd like to see 1,000 folks taking part this year – what an amazingly positive vibe that would create!
Jesus Christ Superstar – Exclusive this year is a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Revival Tent. Cast members include festival performer Eric Mardis (Split Lip Rayfield) as Jesus. Outstanding local musicians put this musical together and have been performing it with rave reviews.
The Porch – New to the festival this year is The Porch, hosted by the Americana Music Academy, offering Wakarusians yet another way to participate in the festival. The Porch is Wakarusa's coffee house and beer garden, featuring acoustic performances from professionals and amateurs, providing chairs and hammocks for comfort. It will be directly across the street from the Campground Stage where the Wakarusa General Store was last year. Amateurs who wish to perform should send an email to email@example.com expressing interest, and someone from the Americana Music Academy will contact you to set up a performance time (all performances will be scheduled prior to the festival). Scheduled performances will be listed on the Wakarusa website under "The Porch."
Fun for Kids – A secluded, family campground is again available this year at Wakarusa. Daily activities for children will be provided from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Campground Pavilion, including musical programs, learning stations, interactive displays, face painting, musician workshops, painting and drawing tables, and instrument building. A children's parade is also scheduled to be led by local loonies Deep Fried Pickle Project. Children's activities are sponsored by the Americana Music Academy and Googles of Fun. Children must be accompanied by an adult – but, grown-ups are welcome to let their inner child out to play!
Clinton State Park attractions – The Wakarusa Music and Camping festival is all about the music – but festival-goers would be remiss if they didn't take advantage of the entire outdoor vacation package found at Clinton State Park. The festival sits on the north side of a 7,000-acre manmade lake within an 11,000-acre park that provides swimming, fishing, boating, camping, picnic shelters, playgrounds, hiking and biking trails, and a full-service marina. A disc-golf course was installed just last year near the festival site. East of Clinton Dam is Eagle Bend Golf Course, an 18-hole public facility. It is not part of the Wakarusa festival package, but has reasonable rates. For more information about the lake, including trail maps, visit: www.nwk.usace.army.mil/clinton/clinton_home.htm.
Visit Lawrence, our host city – When planning a four-day stay at the festival, festival-goers may choose to hop on the No-Waka Shuttle that takes them to downtown Lawrence. There, you will find a plethora of experiences, including retailers, fine-art galleries, jewelers, toy stores, an independent movie theater, public parks with excellent play areas for children, a public pool, bars with live music, and many restaurants with tastes from around the world. A trail for walking or biking runs along the Kansas (or Kaw) River, which is accessible from downtown across the bridge. The Lawrence Visitor's Center is also situated across the bridge just north of the river, providing tourists with pamphlets outlining self-guided tours of the city. For more information about Lawrence, visit www.lawrencechamber.org.
No-Waka Shuttle – Wakarusa will provide bus transportation into Lawrence, with stops at Hy-Vee grocery store (Kasold Drive at Clinton Parkway), and downtown; schedule and bus stop locations TBA. The shuttle will run continuously on the festival grounds to assist concert-goers in getting around the park.
Poster Village – Renowned "Rok" poster artists will participate in an "art expo" at this year's festival, displaying their work to both peruse and purchase. Artists include Jeff Wood, Gary Houston, Michael Everett, and Daniel Katra. Each artist will produce a limited-edition screen printed poster commemorating Wakarusa 2006, which will be for sale.
Showerusa and other goodies for sale – Wakarusa has once again attracted the very best food and arts-and-crafts vendors to the festival. Music magazines will be on-site to sell subscriptions, including Relix and An Honest Tune. Official festival merchandise will be for sale, including hats and t-shirts, as well as live audio recordings of many performances after they happen at this year's festival. The Wakarusa General Store will be open again this year, stocked by Hy-Vee. ATMs will be available on-site. Ice will also be for sale, and – last, but certainly not least – showers will be offered for $4. Showers, ice, and the Wakarusa General Store will be situated just north of the Campground Stage.
"We will have everything you need," said Mosiman. "Once you hit the Wakarusa site, you won't have to leave the grounds the entire weekend. Wakarusa 2006 will truly be the complete package of music and Mother Nature."
For those who prefer the great "indoors" for sleeping, Wakarusa will offer travel packages, including hotel accommodations and scheduled transportation to and from the site. Complete hotel information is available at www.wakarusa.com.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, who have graciously agreed to support our growing Wakarusa Family: New Belgium Brewing, Fat Tire Amber Ale, JamBase, CD Tradepost, In Ticketing, AT&T, Intel, Verizon, Motorola, Best Buy, Sweet Leaf Tea, eMusic, Home Grown Music Network, Red Bull Axe, Sonic Bids, and Hy-Vee Food and Drug.