Donnelly: Wakarusa Godfather on Why Arkansas’s Better Than Lawrence (& More)


Got your tickets yet?  Better hurry…

The Wakarusa Festival kicks off this Thursday, June 2nd in Ozark, Arkansas atop Mulberry Mountain. It’s a venue that most everyone can agree is more picturesque – and more friendly – than the original site at Clinton State Park in Lawrence

"Yeah, the vibe is definitely more relaxed and a lot funner, I think," says Wakarusa main man Brett Mosiman.  "It’s really spectacular. On the drive in you start getting really excited going through the mountains and forests and it really is on top of a mountain.  There are little creeks and ponds, and our southern campsite is on the Mulberry River. So you can take a dip before coming up and seeing some shows."

The bands Mosiman is looking forward to the most?  Some big ones, some small ones and some that most people have never seen.

"Personally I think My Morning Jacket is definitely one of the best live bands in America right now," says Mosiman of this year’s headliner.  "I saw them in Austin and they absolutely destroyed it." 

Who else?

"I’ve never seen Mumford & Sons before, so I’m really looking forward to that show.  Beautiful Girls from Australia, Peelander Z from Japan.  And I’m really looking forward to the response that Quixotic gets because it’ll be nearly everyone’s first time seeing them," Mosiman adds.

For those not in the know, Quixotic is KC’s own percussion/dance/symphonic/trapeze act that has everyone on the Waka team buzzing.  Word is Mosiman built a special stage just for their performance, and Pipeline Productions pro staffer Emily assured me there will be fire involved.

Other stuff going on atop Mount Waka?

"There’s killer hiking, biking, fishing, floating, and tubing," says Mosiman.  "There’s a nice disc golf course, daily yoga, drum circles.  And, oh yeah, there’s a really killer 10 story ferris wheel.  It’ll run all day and all night, so you can probably go up there and see thirty miles in all directions."

Just stay away from the brown acid while you’re up there!

In fact, if you’re going to mess with that stuff, keep your feet on the ground and let some of these guys feed your head: Ben Harper, Thievery Corporation, STS9, Michael Franti, Dark Star, North Mississippi, Lucero, and JJ Grey – just to name a few. 

And it’s really not that far away from KC, not much more than a four hour drive.  Leave in the morning, get there by lunch. 

So now that Mosiman has got this Wakarusa deal down pat, are there any thoughts of maybe moving it back up to the Lawrence area, where he’s based? 

Not really.

"Mulberry Mountain will be our home," says Mosiman confidently. 


Personally, I can’t wait to see the venue.  I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone, not just regarding the surroundings, but also the "vibe" that was a bit of an issue here in Lawrence if I remember correctly.  And it’s a great chance to see a whole bunch of killer bands that you maybe wouldn’t otherwise. As well as a handful of heavy hitters like My Morning Jacket. 

Check in frequently this week as I’ll be posting live reviews and other stories from the festy.

Or, come on down!  Tickets are still available at the Bottleneck, Grinders, and online.
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3 Responses to Donnelly: Wakarusa Godfather on Why Arkansas’s Better Than Lawrence (& More)

  1. smartman says:

    Reefer Madness
    C’mon, it’s all about drugs. Cut the crap with the “vibe”. Vibe is code for getting higher than a kite and not getting busted. Hopefully the Feds will be out in force and cracking skulls like they’re supposed to. The US festival circuit is well know to the Mexican Drug Cartels and other organized crime and gang banger types. This isn’t just a few innocent stoners getting together to roll one.

  2. Merle Tagladucci says:

    We’re lucky to have smartman here to warn us about the horror of music festivals.

  3. smartman says:

    Fuckin A John Tweety Bird right fella. Not like back in the day when honor among thieves was the letter of the law. Back when smoke was smoke and coke was coke. Drugs today have so much garbage and synthetic crap in them you might as well light up or grind up some PVC pipe. You’d be a lot better off.

    Used to be you could always count on Jesus and your drug dealer. No Mas. It’s just Jesus now.

    All these wanna be hippie fucks. Takers, not MAKERS. Since when did stay at home son and daughter become an occupation?

    GenX-Y-Z jagoffs. No honor, code or integrity; just mummy and pappas credit card.

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