Tickets On Sale for Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival
Tickets On Sale for Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival
Jill M. Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Ozark, Ark. – Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival, an experience that is both sonic and scenic, is coming up May 31 through June 3 at Mulberry Mountain in northwest Arkansas. Tickets are on sale now for this major music festival that has a well-earned reputation for a stellar show of top-notch acts amid a beautiful backdrop that is the Ozark Mountains.
“We have about 150 artists playing almost 200 sets of music on five stages over four days,” Brett Mosiman, event organizer, explained. “We throw pre and post parties in Fayetteville at George’s on Wednesdays and Mondays.” The artists are primarily national and international artists with about 20 or so regional acts.
The band schedule is now posted on the Wakarusa website, so event-goers can plan the details of their weekend. The 2012 lineup includes: Pretty Lights, The Avett Brothers, Primus, Umphrey’s McGee, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Slightly Stoopid, Girl Talk, Fitz & the Tantrums, Matisyahu, G. Love & Special Sauce, Ghostland Observatory, Big Gigantic, Balkan Beat Box, Beats Antique, The Del McCoury Band, Railroad Earth, Nobody Beats the Drum, EOTO, Quixotic, Tea Leaf Green, Perpetual Groove, Green Velvet, The Big Wu, The Devil Makes Three, Split Lip Rayfield, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, 12th Planet, LA Riots, VibeSquaD, Gramatik, Futurebirds, New Monsoon, Gaelic Storm, Hot Buttered Rum, Mountain Sprout, The Infamous Stringdusters, Hearts of Darkness, Love and Light, and many more. For the full list and details of what time and which stage they will play, visit www.Wakarusa.com.
“We have five stages and we try to counter program quite a bit,” Mosiman explained. “If you get tired of reggae you can go listen to some electronic dance music.” The musical genres at Wakarusa run the gamut - alternative country, techno, bluegrass, singer/songwriter, rock, dubstep… In fact, Mosiman explains it by saying what the festival doesn’t have. “About all we don’t have is heavy rap and metal.”
All the fun takes place at Mulberry Mountain, a lodging and event resort on about 650 acres surrounded by the Ozark National Forest. The resort contains cabins, a 5,000-square-foot lodge, and an events building. The tree-shaded campground has full hook-up sites for tents and recreational vehicles, but can also accommodate a large number of people for tent camping without water or electricity.
In addition to the music and fine scenery, the Wakarusa venue provides opportunity for other recreation such as Frisbee golf, floating the Mulberry River, and fishing. On-site you’ll also find morning activities such as yoga, a Ferris wheel and new this year, an extremely large water slide.
Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival moved from Kansas to the rolling hills of northwest Arkansas in 2009. Attendance that first year was about 10,000. “The second year we just about doubled that,” said Brett Mosiman, event organizer. “Since then we’ve been slowly creeping up. This year I think attendance will be about 22,000 people, about like last year.”
There’s no doubt Wakarusa boosts the economy as thousands of people head to the Ozarks, packing hotels and filling up on gas and food for the annual event. But it impacts the region in other ways too.
“I’ve had lots of people tell me they think over the years Wakarusa helps embolden the music scene,” Mosiman explains. “It helps introduce touring bands to the area which has really impacted it positively.”
It also introduces people - that might not have come otherwise - to Arkansas. Some of those folks come back for vacations or even move here. “I’ll give you an example from my own family,” said Mosiman. “My daughter ended up at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville because she was at Wakarusa helping three or four years in a row. I don’t think she would have done that had she not been exposed to it.”
He said Wakarusa also puts Arkansas in the limelight through the media. “Literally hundreds of articles are written about the festival and the site, and they are all very positive,” Mosiman explained. “You start hearing about waterfalls and hikes and float streams. Whether you’re coming to the festival or not, I imagine people are Googling the Buffalo and state parks and checking it out. Northwest Arkansas is a gorgeous jewel that you all know about but not all the people in the country know about. Wakarusa exposes tens of thousands of people to an area that doesn’t get a lot of national exposure.”
Mosiman said Wakarusa attracts a very wide cross section of people, although the majority of them are younger and college kids. He added that the annual Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Music Festival, held at Mulberry Mountain in the fall, is attended more by young families and older folks. This year the festival will be Oct. 11-13.
“I think the main thing is they are all there to have a great time, to get away from technology, to unwind, to listen to great music,” Mosiman said. “I always say it should be on everybody’s bucket list. In today’s times of technology, get unplugged and dance in the moonlight.”
If You Go
Visit www.Wakarusa.com, which is full of information as well as great video that provides a good feel for the festival. You can also buy your tickets here - single day tickets as well as whole packages that include camping. Children younger than 12 are free.
Mulberry Mountain is located on the Pig Trail Scenic Byway, which is Ark. 23 from the south boundary of the Ozark National Forest to its intersection with Ark. 16 at Brashears. The rugged and forested Boston Mountains region of the Ozark Mountains provides the setting for this route, portions of which run through a tunnel of foliage during spring, summer and fall. The byway crosses the Mulberry River and the 165-mile Ozark Highlands Trail.
Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
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