Wakarusa festival to return in mid-June to Clinton Lake

CAMPERS MILL ABOUT last summer at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival at Cliinton Lake. This year's festival is planned for June 17-19.

It starts with a “W” and is expected to draw thousands of music fans.

No, Woodstock is not being resurrected this year, but the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival is.

Lawrence’s largest-ever music festival made its debut last summer at Clinton Lake State Park, drawing around 7,500 people. This year’s event is June 17-19 and is expected to accommodate numbers into the five-digit range.

“We had almost 100 percent positive feedback from last year’s festival,” says Brett Mosiman, co-director of the outdoor festival. “We sold tickets in 44 states, but we didn’t feel like it was too well-embraced locally.”

Mosiman estimates only 20 percent of the crowd was from Kansas. Among the changes he says are being implemented this year to help increase local and national attendance:

A TENT CITY IS CREATED NEXT TO PARKED VEHICLES last June at the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival at Clinton Lake.

  • More multiple sets – more than 35 bands doing two or more sets.
  • Dual crews to allow for better and longer operation in key areas like box office.
  • Increased park security and increased security measures on tickets and bracelets.
  • More commerce and entertainment at the campgrounds in the afternoon.

Other additions include a Wakarusa travel office that can arrange hotel deals and coordinate shuttle service to and from the festival. And there will be a family campground with early quiet hours. This will feature a children’s stage and a “creation station” where kids can indulge in artistic expressions.

More than 50 bands have been confirmed (pared down from last year’s unwieldy 75). The organizers hope to add a local/regional stage that will showcase additional area acts.

“We have a fabric of bands that like the spontaneous, come-as-you-are, what-has-mother-cooked-up-for-us-today attitude,” says co-director John Brooks.

Mosiman claims the lineup will continue to stress diversity. He says among the more unusual highlights this year is Matisyahu, a Hasidic Jew transplanted to New York from Israel who performs reggae music while attired in full Hasidic garb.


Artists scheduled to appear at Wakarusa Fest 2005 include: Wilco, Gov’t Mule, Ozomatli, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Little Feat, Junior Brown, String Cheese Incident, Galactic, Papa Mali, Martin Sexton, Split Lip Rayfield, Son Volt, The Samples, Garaj Mahal, Calexico, Mofro, Neko Case, Railroad Earth, Umphrey’s McGee, North Mississippi Allstars, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Donna the Buffalo, Hackensaw Boys, Greyhounds, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Blueground Undergrass, The Big Wu, Xavier Rudd, Hot Buttered Rum String Band, Tea Leaf Green, Shanti Groove, ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra), Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Particle, The Jazz Mandolin Project, Perpetual Groove, Ari Hest, John Brown’s Body, Deep Fried Pickle Project, Moonshine Still, New Monsoon, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Gourds, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise, The Schwag, The Jeff and Vida Band, Matisyahu, and Truckstop Honeymoon.