[FESTIVAL COVERAGE] Wakarusa 2013 Recap
Photos & Editorial by: Daniel Walker
After a tough and turbulent winter, I had a change of heart. I decided not to pursue journalism, but instead, to follow my passion and go to culinary school. I had two broken arms since my last festival, reunited with my soulmate, had to sell my Summer Camp VIP tickets due to my job and school, and am now sitting on my porch smoking a cigarette as the love of my life and I are about to carpool with two close friends all the way to Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas for the 10th anniversary of Wakarusa and our first festival together.
Last year I went to my first festival ever, Electric Forest, and it inspired me to see that come-as-you-are attitude everybody had and the feeling of community that occurs when that many people from all different walks of life unite. Liberating is the best way to describe it.
Electric Forest is more psychedelic, whereas Wakarusa looks to be more nature oriented. But neither my friends, nor I, have been. I lost my job right before electric forest last year and considered selling my tickets, but was thankfully talked out of it. I nearly sold my Wakarusa tickets because of my new school and work priorities as well, but was able to get the time off to take this much-needed vacation and adventure with Jen.
I am writing this article more from a sociological and psychological perspective then a music appreciation perspective. The music is what originally brought me there, but the community feeling is what makes me want to return again and again.
The storm Thursday morning set the tone of the event: wet, muddy, and full of rage and fury. Thursday night most of the shows were canceled, but the community vibe was strong. People huddled together and formed ‘cuddle puddles’ with strangers in an effort to stay warm. Friday, however, the sun shone all day long and I got burnt! We mostly walked around and explored all nature had to offer until we headed to the Grassroots Satellite Stage for Run DMT and Baauer. It was a traptastic night! As we returned to camp we got our feet stuck in the six inch deep mud while having to walk a quarter mile uphill to Westwoods North camping.
Saturday we saw a bit of John Wayne and the Payne and Rebelution, and ended up passing out afterward in the warmth of our car from 7 PM til 4 AM. Well, at least that’s when I got up to explore.
Sunday, our spirits were bruised but not broken as the sun came out. I went on a solo hike through the mountain trails and got my hands on a dry schedule, and was pleased to see the days lineup. We hiked together to the Grassroots Satellite Stage and set up our ENO hammock and relaxed for John Wayne and the Payne, and raged out for the hometown DJ Solo, who played all original mixes until the last song when he sampled Jim Morrison’s voice from the Doors’ “Love me Two Times.” Afterward my girlfriend and I walked to the Marlboro tent to watch The Green on the main stage, only to find they were out of menthol cigarettes. So our next stop was to the general store to snag the last pack at the festival. Then we returned to the hammock for Cherub, who jammed hard. Finally, Griz broke out the sexy sax and rocked the Satellite Stage so hard. Afterward, everybody, including myself, left to go see The Polish Ambassador.
TPA was in the Revival Tent and we were in the general admission front row with a blow up alligator on a rage stick. Polish Ambassador has an amazing groove to their sound and always has a good crowd full of dancing ragers. Immediately after the set I saw an opportunity and hopped the VIP fence. I had no sharpie, but a roadie did and I got my TPA grassroots hat signed by both members. Then I got my three friends to also jump the fence. We went to the back of the VIP area and listened to Snoop Lion perform “What’s My Name” and “Gin and Juice” before returning for Gramatik‘s set. AMAZING is all I have to say about that! We had the “gator rager” right in front of the stage and went hard! Then Griz came out for a few Grizmatik songs, but no sax. My face melted when “Bluestep” came on! Immediately after we trudged through the mud for Amon Tobin.
I saw Isam live in October of 2011, but Amon Tobin updated his set list to be more lively and less trance. When I saw him last, the zombie-like crowd was captivated by the sights and the sounds (see what I did there?). This time people were raging hard and he even threw some trap in his set. The visuals are incomparable to anything I have ever seen. Excision’s Executioner stage was next best, but fails in a size comparison.
Throughout the weekend you could see more and more cars getting stuck in the aisles of mud, so we decided to head back to camp and pack it up while EOTO was onstage. We missed the final show of the weekend, but don’t regret it. I would love to see an aerial video of everybody trying to leave because it had to be a nightmare!
It can’t rain all the time and life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning how to dance in the rain! If the weather gets you down, the people there will lift you back up! PLUR.