A pilgrimage for some, a hop and a skip for others, Wakarusa was our home for 4 glorious days. A melting pot of positive energy that could only be described as wholesome as homemade, we relished in the chance to enjoy new music and new friends.
Wakarusa, long known as the one of the best eclectic celebrations in the country, offered a smorgasbord of events to highlight the weekend. Arriving early, one of the most noticeable features was the art. Instillations of all mediums were found all over the sanctuary that was Mulberry Mountain. I particularly enjoyed finding an escape from the party in a mini art gallery that featured the work of various on-site vendors. It was the unconventional mediums like bamboo, cd’s, and other things I would never think to create with that had me the most mesmerized.
Chompdown, a Wakarusa tradition, filled the bellies of the most dedicated party goers who hadn’t bothered to quit all night. Music provided by Dirtfoot was as nourishing as the meal, which patrons gladly shared with each other as no ear nor belly left empty. The community coming together in such a magical place as this made this morning, truly spectacular.
The eclectic offerings of music left nothing to be desired. My first time seeing Joe Russo’s Almost Dead left me in awe after a seamless, non-stop set that featured superb musicians shredding from beginning to end. One of my favorite aspects of a festival is all the concentrated talent… This can lead to once in a lifetime collaborations. I must give a shout out to Mouth’s Lucas Parker. This extraordinary musician seemed to be on a stage every time I looked up at one. I never did get to ask just how many sets he sat in on but everyone I saw was superb. I would liken this cat to a young Warren Haynes. If you have yet to check out Lawrence, Kansas’ premiere jazz/rock/jam/fusion ensemble, Mouth, it’s not too late to jump on the boat.
It was a genre that I subscribe to the least that had me raving all weekend. I have long been familiar and a fan of The Roots, who gave a spectacular headliner performance but It was the stylings of Chali 2na, Chance the Rapper and Dilated Peoples that had me wondering why I don’t listen to more hip-hop. A social experiment, by Chance the Rapper had fans singing along to songs they may had not previously known. Inspiring us to make our own moment, reminding fans that “This is OUR show”, This is OUR Wakarusa… and we made it the best one yet.