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Archive for Friday, June 17, 2005

15,000 expected as fest gets off to colorful start

Like summer camp for adults’

June 17, 2005

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A young woman directing traffic into Clinton Lake State Park on Thursday afternoon stopped her work suddenly, lifted her T-shirt and exposed her bare chest to the stream of oncoming cars.

Welcome to the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival, a four-day extravaganza of dancing hippies, Frisbee golf, dreadlocks, Grateful Dead paraphernalia and - oh yeah - music.

"It's like summer camp for adults!" yelled Daniel Boone Daniel, singer for the Deep Fried Pickle Project, one of the first bands to take the stage at midafternoon Thursday.

As many as 15,000 music fans are expected for the event, which will feature up to 90 bands - including Wilco, Big Head Todd and the String Cheese Incident - performing on six stages. That big a crowd hadn't materialized by midafternoon Thursday, but it seemed likely to develop, as a long line of vehicles packed with camping gear continued to enter the park throughout the day.

"It's going pretty good," said Brett Mosiman, one of the festival organizers. "There was a big crowd at 8 this morning. It took awhile to get them in, but we've got things flowing pretty well."

He didn't have an estimate on how many people had arrived, but said: "The campground people told us the campgrounds were filling up like crazy."

Traveling community

A walk through the campgrounds revealed license plates from North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and elsewhere. Many of the concertgoers were arriving from the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, a similar event last weekend in Tennessee.

"I like to go where people are having fun and listen to some great music," said Austin Koontz, a bearded 25-year-old from New Mexico who said he was attending his seventh festival since March. "If you're in one town, you don't get to jump in the pool of good music. Here you've got everybody you want to see, except for the Dead."

Koontz said he could afford to attend so many festivals because panhandling had been quite lucrative.

"You fly a sign when you go through major cities, and people will help out," he said. "You go fly a sign on a major corner, you can make $200, $300 in a couple of hours. That's a whole paycheck for some people."

If anybody resents that, he said, it's because they're chained to their own materialism.

"They don't have the will power, the determination to say : I don't need all that," Koontz said.

Not that capitalism wasn't prominent at the festival. ATM machines were brought to the campgrounds so concertgoers could get the cash needed to buy the clothes, jewelry, DVDs, art and food from stands set up near the performance stages.

Jayme Glusman, a Floridian, was selling "100% Righteous Juice" and "Seitan Kabobs" at his Vegetarian Oasis food stand. He said the business was partly an opportunity to make money, partly an opportunity to be part of the traveling festival community.

"Vegetarian food doesn't sell as well as other foods," he said, "but I like the love."

Past Event
Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2005

featuring String Cheese Incident / Wilco / Son Volt / Calexico / Neko Case / Ozomatli and more

  • When: Friday, June 17, 2005, noon to 3 a.m.
  • Where: Clinton State Park, Clinton Lake, Lawrence
  • Cost: $79 - $119
  • More on this event....

Grateful Dead

The shadow of the Grateful Dead - the '60s-era jam band that continues to inspire cultlike devotion among its fans despite singer Jerry Garcia's death in 1995 - loomed large over Wakarusa. The first band to draw a bursting crowd to its stage was The Schwag, a Dead tribute band. Vendors sold quilts and stained glass emblazoned with the Dead's skull-and-lightning logo.

"I think it's so awesome that, since Jerry's death, the jam band thing has branched out," said Kelly Etner, a North Carolinian who was selling the stained glass. "Festivals are stronger than ever, and Grateful Dead merchandise is hotter than ever. It's awesome the energy is still there."

Energy and, on occasion, illicit substances. A reporter wandering among tents, carrying a notebook and wearing casual business clothes, was asked a couple of times if he was a federal narcotics agent. After a denial was offered, one young man offered up a sweet-smelling pipe.

The marijuana was apparently affecting his athletic skills, because the young man reported he had lost several Frisbees in a stand of trees near his camp site.

"The Frisbee golf is good," he said, "but don't lose your (expletive) disk in the forest."

The festival continues through Sunday.

Wakarusa Festival 2005

More about the Wakarusa Festival

Comments

zbarf 9 years, 4 months ago

Open the clinton spillway and wash the local drug problem down the wakarusa river!!!

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gconfo 9 years, 4 months ago

If anybody resents that, he said, it's because they're chained to their own materialism.

"They don't have the will power, the determination to say : I don't need all that," Koontz said.

Yeah, I'm chained to a roof over my head, food for my wife and daughter, and clothes on my back. I don't have the willpower to resist the need for medication to treat my asthma. What a friggin' tool! He's obviously chained to his own stupidity. He gives people who are actually destitute a bad name.

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blakus 9 years, 4 months ago

What local drug problem are you talking about, zbarf? Most of these people attending are from out of town and are harmless. But I am sure you rather drive by the festival, or read a silly article in the LJWorld, than actually meet and get to know the festival folk. But I guess assumptions and generalizations are easier to cough up. Relax gconfo, you don't have to give Koontz any of your money.

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zbarf 9 years, 4 months ago

Blakus,

Last time I checked...drugs are illegal.

Every article I read, talks about all the wonderful drugs at this fest. And I bet they are restrained in their reporting.

Sounds like a gathering of lawlessness, camping, and good music.

Change the laws or get rid of the drugs and I would have no problem with it and probably be out there with my family.

zbarf

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gconfo 9 years, 4 months ago

Hey Blakus,

Why don't you relax? I like to think of myself as a pretty compassionate person, giving to people on the street when I can. However, when some moron who by casual appearances is panhandling because he wants to attend a music fest (and not for the usual reasons), then insinuates that I'm materialistic and lacking in willpower because I resent it, it pisses me off. Believe it or not, there are some people living on the street who do so because they have little or no alternatives.

And if I had the extra cash and time, I'd probably be out there too (even if it is an oversized Mega Keggar/Omega).

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