5 Reasons We Love Wakarusa- and Why You Should Too!

April 29, 2015 -

Liane Robinson

On the weekend of June 4th thousands of Wakafarians will gather in celebration of music and art for the 12th installment of Wakarusa. This four day festival features six stages, over 150 acts and nearly 200 sets of music; it truly is a festival created BY music lovers, FOR music lovers. Wakarusa is a powerhouse in the festival game. With a diverse lineup, incredible venue, and unmatchable vibes, this festival has the perfect recipe for a kick ass weekend. Here are 5 reasons we love Wakarusa- and why you should too!

1. Mulberry Mountain

This beautiful plot of land is a home away from home- a beautiful mountaintop region tucked away in the rural area of Ozark, Arkansas about 2 hours outside of Little Rock. This venue is perfect for such a large gathering; boasting 3 different areas to camp, there is a place for everyone to feel right at home. If you enjoy being right in the middle of the action, main venue camping is for you; situated just a short walk away from the main stage, you can hear music right from your camp and the travel time to the stages is nearly nonexistent. If you enjoy a little more privacy and quiet time while relaxing in a hammock then the West Woods would be perfect; a little further of a walk then main venue camping but you get to set up camp amongst beautiful trees and not have to worry about the late night sets keeping you awake. If you enjoy waking up and taking a refreshing swim in the gorgeous Mulberry River then you would love Riverside Camping. Although Riverside is the furthest away from the entrance and requires you to catch a shuttle to Main Venue, it provides the most privacy and relaxation and with perks like the Riverside Stage jamming blue grass and funk all weekend it may be your new favorite hang out spot! There is something truly unique about Mulberry Mountain and its something you feel as soon as your tires hit the dirt road and you see rolling mountain peaks in the distance. Whether you spend your day hiking to the local waterfall, bathing in the river (don't forget your Dr. Broner's!) or dancing to your favorite sets there is never a dull moment! Camping and Vehicle passes are going quickly so buy yours now and make sure you get your favorite spot!

Phil Clarkin-Aerial

2. The Satellite Stage

Perhaps one of the things we love most about Wakarusa is the Satellite Stage; from the music to the vibes, the whole place is crawling with creatures from another world. One of the many things Wakarusa does best is late night sets and for that the Satellite Stage shines above all else. Just because the sun goes down doesn't mean the music stops early. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night the music goes until the crack of dawn with sunrise set from artists such as Govinda, The Human Experience and Black Tiger Sex Machine. The Satellite Stage is outside of the main venue and you enter through a tunnel like portal of  lights which feels like stepping into another dimension; suddenly you come out the other side under a canopy like dome of tall trees, and it becomes a whole new world. Whether you are dancing, sitting down or enjoying the sets from your hammock, this stage sets the perfect ambiance to wind down after day full of adventures and will have you sleepily stumbling back to your camp under a cotton candy colored sunrise sky. Early mornings filled with blissful music, hot coffee and a fuzzy blanket make this my favorite place to be! Check out the entire stage lineup here!


3. The Lineup

Although we are always huge supporters of the arts and the extra aesthetics the festival provides such as live art, vending and workshops- we are music lovers to the bone and if you are anything like us you know a good lineup is at the core of a solid festival experience. Not only does Waka occupy one of the best music venues in the South Central region, but it also is notorious for always coming in hot with a diverse lineup; blending jamtronica, r&b, hip-hop, reggae, electronic, rock and everything in between with well known longtime favorites and plenty of new faces. This year's bill is graced with the likes of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Thievery Corporation, Major Lazer, STS9, Umphrey's McGee, Big Gigantic, Glass Animals, Chance the Rapper and The Roots. Spend your day getting down to some home grown bluegrass with The Devil Makes Three and The Ben Miller Band, enjoy a sunset with reggae legends Slightly Stoopid and catch some early morning melting vibes with Minnesota. With a lineup so diverse you can expect everything from an ambient tropical house set by Thomas Jack to engaging in a culture conversation with peace activist Nahko and Medicine for The People. There is no doubt that Waka is a music lovers paradise but with tunes playing for nearly 18 hours each day from noon to 6:15 a.m. it is impossible to see everything so make sure you don't miss any of your favorite sets! Variety is the spice of life so enjoy all of your favorite glory day classics but try to discover something new along the way!

Phil Clarkin-UM-WideMain

4.The Vibes

Something that drastically sets Wakarusa apart from other large scale festivals is the overall vibe of everyone there; from security personnel, to volunteers, to the festival goers themselves, everyone greets you with a genuine wide smile and a high five along with the traditional chant of "WAKA, WAKA, WAKA!" Southern hospitality is a real thing and it's taken very seriously here; whether it's your neighbor helping you set up your tent, everyone you meet offering you shots of their homemade moonshine or sharing some of your funnel cake with your new friends. Even with a crowd of nearly 25,000, Wakarusa always maintains the feel of a small home grown festival, one you are sure to leave with a new friend or two. Stay open minded, strike up a conversation with someone in line about your favorite sets, get lost from your crew, and meet some new dance partners. Let go of expectations and plans and enjoy a weekend full of new discoveries. The vibes and energy at Wakarusa is unmatchable and we know good music is what gets you to the festival but the people make you want to come back!

SEEN-Hoop & Kid

5. Live Art, Roaming Performances and Activities

Waka's list of activities and interactive art is just about as long as their lineup and offers something for everyone to enjoy. Not only are they serious about their music, they are serious about incorporating entertainment into every part of the festival with 150 roaming performers such as jugglers, mimes on stilts, fire spinners, magicians, comedians and many more. You can also watch live painting  and interact with artists such as HomeGrown Hip Hop, Apex Collective, Andrew Damien Miller and Alicia Post of Intrinsic Art as their pieces unfold throughout the weekend. If you need a break from the music and dancing Wakarusa has you covered with activities such as guided meditations, discussions about solar energy and acroyoga workshops. You can even take the Built Your Own Choreo class with hoop ninja Lee Jeffries! From a costume contest to a full on parade to carnival rides and beyond there is so much to do! Check out the entire list and find more info about art, live performances and activities here!

We love Wakarusa and think it should be at the top of your must-do list this summer. Tickets are going quickly, purchase yours now to guarantee the best summer yet. See ya on the mountain!


 Photos by Jamie Seed, Phil Clarkin Photography and SEEN Imagery

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