Chat about Wakarusa Fest

May 31, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

The <a href="">Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival</a> begins June 7. Chat with organizer Brett Mosiman about this year's event.


Greetings chatters. I'm Jon Niccum, Entertainment Editor of the Lawrence Journal-World, and I'll be moderating this chat. Please welcome Brett Mosiman, organizer and founder of the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival.

Brett Mosiman:

good day
beautiful people


Brett, I'm wondering how you can assure festival goers that the security will be "kinder, gentler and more respectful" when you have no control over what the county police can do on public land? It is my understanding that you had no knowledge of their undercover work last year. How do you plan to keep the promises you're making this year?

Kudos on hiring a seasoned Director of Security. You're definitely making steps in the right direction.

Brett Mosiman:

We have worked very hard all year to address concerns like this. We have implemented several new programs to the festival like St Bernards, Serenity and new security director and we have also done extensive training with all of our security. We have spent a fair amount of time working with Law Enforcement also to create a safer and friendlier event. i am confident that that will take place this year.


There was an online chat a few weeks ago with a police officer who never really said how they will be patrolling the festival. Do you have any information on that front for any festival goers? Plus, is there going to be a huge shakedown for glass containers this year? Where did all of those glass containers go from last year?

Brett Mosiman:

I can't tell you about conviscated items from last year but we will have relaxed enforcement of the parks regular glass policy this year. We have been told that there will not be ATV's in the campground (big plus). I believe most LE will be on foot, in golf carts or in their primary vehicles.'


I am interested in helping out the event planner of the festival, to learn more about the event planning careers. I have done some association meeting planning and other social events, but am interested in learning how to organize and assist the manager of more events that feature entertainment, so are there any paid positions open for an assistant?

Brett Mosiman:

In general, contact the festival at There are hundreds of paying postions every year. We are covered for this year however.


Hey Brett, thanks for bringing this whole shindig to Lawrence... What act(s) are you most looking forward to seeing?

Brett Mosiman:

I (like almost everyone of our staff) am a huge music fan. Some of my most anticipated acts:
Citizen Cope, Ben Harper, Son Volt, Sam Bush, New Mastersounds, Tangleweed, Yonder Mountain, Ozric Tentacles, Grace Potter, John Butler Trio..........Way too many to name.


Why did you all remove one of the main stages this year?

Brett Mosiman:

There were several considerations that went into that. Sound bleed between the two main stages was an issue. Competition between headlining acts & cost were also considerations.
We also wanted to add true headliners - which we did (Ben Harper & Widespread Panic). Also, the fans really love the covered stages for overall comfort - so Sun Up was sent to pasture and we added the Prairie stage and have expanded the Homegrown and Campground stages too.


If you could choose any active band, who would be your ideal Waka headliner? As far as selling tix and putting on a great show, who has been the best act in the festival's rather short history?

Brett Mosiman:

I think to date Wilco, String Cheese & Flaming Lips have been our most anticipated acts. We certainly feel Ben Harper and Widespread join that list this year. I would say Neil Young is my dream headliner. Come on Neil - come to Kansas!


good day to you Brett and Jon. i am attending my 4th wakarusa fest this year and wonder how the St. Bernards are going to stop police hassling of folks on the grounds? i ask this because i roll my own smokes, and last year as i sat in the main concert field rolling a cig, 2 officers rolled right up and demanded i hand it over. they then demanded i empty my pockets, found nothing, then left, visibly upset i was not breaking the law. this was an isolated incident and i dont feel everybody was treated this way.

as Waka staff, you are all required to say---"We have spent a fair amount of time working with Law Enforcement also to create a safer and friendlier event" what does that actually mean to us? it's not a guarantee and it would be foolish to think it was. it being a state park, the police can really do what they want, and not keep their word if they so choose. do you think they will?

lastly, i hate to dwell on the negative only. just had to ask.

everything else about Waka is what makes it a blissful weekend for me. you are doing everything right for me as far as a festival goes. i cant wait to see the changes you have implemented this year. see you then....

Brett Mosiman:

I have been at the LE meetings this year and the message has been one of customer service not confrontation. If you have a negative experience the St Bernard's and info desks are there for you to let us know about it and we want to know. But I am very confident that the atmosphere of the festival will be very much improved this year.


Hi Brett, thanks to you and your team for all of your hard work. We're very much looking forward to our experience at the festival. This is our only large fest of the summer and we chose Wakarusa because of the stellar lineup including MMW and The Motet, as well as Obsidian's Dream from Iowa. We'll be in VIP, what extras make this ticket classification so special?

Brett Mosiman:

We think VIP is the ultimate weekend. Included are meals, beverages, snacks throughout the event. You also get front row viewing, concert field camping, private air conditioned restrooms, free showers, a welcome/goodie bag and on and on. New this year is a single day VIP which I highly recommend if you can't join us for 4 days.


So what's the weather forecast for Lawrence that weekend? Does the Dopplar 8 Ball know yet?

Brett Mosiman:

Weather is a state of mind. I'm sure it will be outstanding. The park is lush and beautiful as we speak. Avg temps - low 80's in the daytime and low 60's at night are expected.


Hi Brett. I saw that the Wakarus Festival was a sponsor at the Lawrence sustainability meeting. What are you doing to make the festival more eco-friendly?

Brett Mosiman:

We are in a state park and want to be invited back each year so we have always had a "leave no trace" mentality. Since year one, we have recycled. Last year we added elements like offsetting our power consumption totally with renewable energy credits. This year we are using biodiesel in all generators and biodegradable silverware for the vendors and implemented a cool reusable cup program with New Belgium who has been a big inspiration to us to fully explore all the sustainability angles for the festival. Also new this year, we are presenting several world class speakers on varuious sustainability topics. Counsult your program. We hope to be a beacon in our community and add more elements of sustainability to our event as we go forward.


My child is 11 & I was wondering what activities including day/times are planned for kids his age?

Brett Mosiman:

First, this is a family friendly event and kids under 12 are free. The park has trails, beaches, disc golf etc. There is a marina and lake so boating & fishing are available. Lawrence Arts Center is handling our children's tent and activities tent with lots of fun stuff there too.


How are ticket sales doing this year compared to Waka's 1-3?

Brett Mosiman:

Ticket sales are good - although we are slightly down from last year we are ahead of 2 years ago. I'm not sure anyone came the first year.


Hey Brett, first of all thank you for taking time out of your certainly busy day to talk. I have two questions, first in terms of arrival what will the security searches consist of, and also how will our campsite location be determined if we are general campers, will we just take the next available spot or will we have flexibility?

Brett Mosiman:

You will be searched by festival staff for banned items (fireworks, pets, weapons) like any other concert. This is for everyone's safety. As far as campsites - we do park those in an organized way so it is not a free for all.


When will the gates open for general camping? I have heard conflicting reports of 12:01AM and 8:00am Thursday.

Brett Mosiman:

Basically, if you arrive after 12:01 thursday AM you will not be turned away. There will not be roadside parking allowed this year so don't show up before then. We don't anticipate any long waits or long lines this year as we have tripled the entrance capacity from last year.


Mr mosiman have you had any cancelations from bands?

Brett Mosiman:

Like every year, there are a few cancellations. Just the odds of booking nearly 125 bands. This year the only two I can think of are Grant Lee Phillips and Alejandro Escovedo both of which hope to be back next year.
BTW We added Great American Taxi (feat Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon) and Luna Angel to replace those bands which are stellar additions.


My band is playing on Thursday
many have asked,
"Why is the Festival not selling single day thursday passes?"

Brett Mosiman:

You will be able to get a single day thursday pass at our box office. We don't advertise this but it is the same policy as previous years.


Bottles are allowed this year but there is still that ridiculous 3.2% rule. As you know, for the most part only domestic cold beer comes in bottles. Is the rule relaxed this year where we can bring in craft/import beers and I dunno, Jim Beam?

Brett Mosiman:

I do not believe that will be a point of enphasis this year. I agree with you. We need to put pressure on our legislators to fix some of these archaic laws.


Will the state troopers search cars on the way into the festival like last year?

Brett Mosiman:



I am coordinating a big group of old friends coming to the festival. Can you give us a little more detail on who will be accepting credit cards at the festival?? I assume the merch stands (T shirts, posters, etc) will but what about beer stands within the festival, food stands, etc. I have told everyone cash is key, but any feedback would help us as we plan!

Brett Mosiman:

The box office, merch stand, 24hr general store and a beer booth or two will have credit card acceptance. We will also have several ATM's on site for yur convenience.


If we just show up could we play if another band cancels? I'm just goin out on a limb here

Brett Mosiman:

Doubtful, as there is a long list of acts that have been on such a list,
but we encourage you to play your hearts out in the campground as long as you are respectful to your neighbors.


Another family question, there has been a familay area to camp, without extra charge, it was really made smaller last year, is the family camping area going to be there this year?

Brett Mosiman:

Family camping is available in campground 3. Just tell your friendly parking attendent you want to go there. It has expanded quiet hours and should have plenty of room to acommodate you.


With the installation of a surrounding fence, will this inhibit police to spy from inside the trees? Also with the new St. Bernard program will the police be escorted around the facility by the new security program? What preesence will the state, local and sheriffs offices have in regards to this year's festival?

Brett Mosiman:

There will be no spying. Our concert field fences are there for safety and security and have always been there. LE will patrol the event and the park and have a positive presence that we all will appreciate in keeping the event safe and secure.


Why do guy hippies wear man-skirts?

Brett Mosiman:

better air circulation for the lack of underpants????????????????????
scottish heritage???????????????????????????
because they can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thanks to Brett Mosiman for spending time with us chatting. And apologies to our readers if we didn't get to your questions. We received far more questions than we have time for replyng to them. Join Mr. Mosiman and Wakarusa a week from today. Brett, any final words?

Brett Mosiman:

Come and have the time of your life at our little world class event.

If you have any other questions you can always email us at and we'll try to respond.

See you at the festival!


Kontum1972 10 years, 4 months ago


then stay away from the park or better yet...leave town for the weekend go try find binladen..

Emily Hadley 10 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like a much better time than last year. I was at the first Wakarusa Festival working a booth for and I can definitely say that there were people there- a lot of people. I can't imagine how big it must be in comparison. If you haven't been, I think it is worth checking out, even if you buy a one-day pass or just go to the lake and check it out from a distance. I wasn't expecting to really enjoy it, just see what it was all about and help a friend, and I cracked jokes about it the whole time. In the one day I was there, I got to see quite a few really good bands and ate a ton of great food. Even spending most of the day in the booth, I had to admit afterward that I had a LOT of fun. By the end of the day, I was jealous of the campers, too, watching them lounging around, playing music, and strolling out of the campsite just in time to see a band take the stage.

JoRight 10 years, 4 months ago

Ramirez is such a pr!ck, how can you not like the guy. lol, well played.

albarton 10 years, 4 months ago

I'm not big on hippies, but the live music makes it all worth it. It also makes for great people watching.

John Spencer 10 years, 4 months ago

What a load of crap, I wonder if this is actionable. False advertising, bait and switch, I am gonna find out. We get out to the festival and ask to go to "Family camping" we get to campground three and they tell us we have to have a pass and a number, we say we're here for the family camping area. They tell us we have to go back to the front and get the parking pass. We go back to the front and they say, no family camping is extra, an "upgrade" we point out that Brett said there is free family camping, and he tells us " Oh Brett will say anything" Nice, really nice. I don't think the workers saw the sign there about 'Be Nice.' Sorry about the rant, but we were so rudely treated and not given any options except to pony up the $150 that I really don't know what to think.

/quote WereAllMonkeys: Another family question, there has been a familay area to camp, without extra charge, it was really made smaller last year, is the family camping area going to be there this year?

Brett Mosiman: yes Family camping is available in campground 3. Just tell your friendly parking attendent you want to go there. It has expanded quiet hours and should have plenty of room to acommodate you. /end quote

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