Wakarusa Music Festival 2008 – Day 1



Originally Published JUNE 6, 2008

YouTube Video URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHTvvLTPQWQ


Contributing Author – Rashon Massey

For a twelve hour drive, we were not in any bad position as far as traffic was concerned. We moved effortlessly through Illinois and Missouri and by the time we entered Kansas, the anticipated wait in a vehicular line was not even possible.

We made our way into the Wakarusa music festival sometime around six o’clock and by 7:30, all evening and late night shows were postponed until further notice as ominous, pregnant dark clouds tore through the blue sky. Many vendors and all sound crew managers were frantically preparing for the storm, which by this time had been upgraded to a tornado watch.

We stationed ourselves at our car and began making acquaintance with our neighboring Festies, introducing ourselves and passing the time like the clouds ahead, keeping our space of chatter occupied with small talk of the coming bad weather. As the sky darkened, the excitement and anticipation only grew from our end of the camp grounds, and we began our first interview with a third time Wakarusa attendee.

We caught up with Richard Schaffer from Springfield, MO while he was packing away his tent, casually repeating to us, “You know – they keep saying we have a 90% chance of rain. My tent cant sustain a night of showers and I don’t want to take any chances; although, if the rain doesn’t come… I am going to curse the hopeful 10% I didn’t believe in.” Many others that camped nearby followed the instincts of the 63 year old and also decided (like RFW) to camp in their cars.

The lightning began and the showers hit at exactly 9:30 but other than rain… the weather remained easily manageable and soon Ben was out and about socializing with the townies.

By Friday morning, the determined energy for the festival prevailed with the sun rising for the new day – strong, hot and smiling with full force.

Now able to walk the grounds fully with a critical eye, we noticed many Town Square areas filled with mud that was appropriately sectioned off by flagged ribbons. Unlike 2006, Wakarusa has downsized quite a bit. Not sure if it is because of the steady decline in festival attendance or the need to try and build upon their VIP section, but one full mainstage… is gone.

We talked to a couple of our buddies who managed to attend the festival last year and mentioned that the stage removal had actually taken place that year. The Sun Up stage has now been moved to a tent pavilion that probably holds the same capacity of persons as the Wakarusa Revival tent. POOR CHOICE! With a cramped lineup that holds no room for error (just performance cancellations), Wakarusa needs to make good with the potential that this festival has to offer. Many that we talk to are already unhappy with the progressive downfall of the powerhouse lineup and music this festival once was known for in years prior.

Head Count is in full force signing up folk to vote – which is always great at a festival. While working our feet to the ground, I have been talking to fellow journalist and students of my generation and the potential for the future of music is on all of our minds. Whether it is our friend who is from NOLA doing a research thesis on the correlation between music festivals and social activism or the young college guy who is seeking guidance and opinion on the future of college radio… or radio in general, for the matter. Communicating with these fellow young minds has inspired me in my artist interviews that have been conduced thus far. Whether it was talking with State Radio or Giant Panda Guerilla Dub, I have begun seeking artists insight on progressive technology that furthers budding careers like theirs, as well as the importance of pubic control over the delivery and exchange of said technology. The responses are truly fascinating and I can’t wait to begin producing the post wrap Wakarusa RFWtv webisode. The content is going to be so much fun!

Well, we have a host of friends and links we are going to include in our Wakarusa post coverage article and Festival Baseball Trading Card (our official festival rating system). We will shoot another update tomorrow with photos prior to our drive home so check back soon.

OH- By the way – I fulfilled my promise for seeing The Flaming Lips at this festival. For those who don’t know – I swore that if I had to watch another Flaming Lips, Vegas show-like spectacle, than I would be on stage in costume with the band as part of the extravaganza. Happily – Ben and I suited up in Teletubbies outfit (Green and Purple… Mary knows I can’t think of their real names) and danced for two full hours. Greatest. Moment. Yet.

Talk to you soon :-)

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