Archive for Friday, June 9, 2006

Festival in full gear

Music fans amuse themselves as traffic moves at a snail’s pace

June 9, 2006


The west side of Lawrence was a dreadlock-filled gridlock Thursday, as thousands of music fans jammed traffic on their way into the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival.

Cars, campers and Volkswagen buses were backed up along Clinton Parkway and Kansas Highway 10 from midmorning until late afternoon, with some fans waiting four hours or more to reach the entrance at Clinton State Park.

Festival security director Gary Thomas attributed the delays mostly to more thorough checks of cars at the gate than in previous years.

"We're popping a lot more trunks and checking for glass, fireworks and narcotics, people with counterfeit wristbands," he said. "We did a lot of those things last year, but this year we're just stepping it up."

The stalled or slowed traffic was most severe from late morning until mid-afternoon, as some vehicles broke down in line or ran out of gas. Joe McNish, a driver for University Tow, said that as of 10:30 a.m., he had hauled eight cars from the bumper-to-bumper mess.

Some people not bound for the festival turned into the line by mistake, including an elderly woman in a silver Lincoln who tried to turn around by jumping the 8-inch median and scraped her car's bottom in the process.

Drivers described creeping along at the pace of roughly one block per hour. For some, the wait was just part of the experience.

"It's nice that there's an area to play in," said 23-year-old Stephani Salazar, of Denver, as she twirled a hula hoop in the grassy median on Clinton Parkway. "We can bring out Frisbees and hoops and start the festival early."

Party starts

The 84-band festival is expected to draw an estimated 15,000 fans daily from around the country. The music kicked off shortly before noon Thursday, but much of the action throughout the day happened in line for the festival and in the surrounding campgrounds.

On Clinton Parkway, Todd Bankhead, of Davenport, Iowa, waited in line in his 1965 Volkswagen bus painted orange and white. The starter doesn't work, so he and his four-person group had to leave a two-car-length "starter zone" behind the bus each time traffic stopped. Every few minutes, as traffic crept forward, they let the bus roll backward, then pushed it up the hill to start it.

They killed time doing a dance they'd invented: "the invisible Hacky Sack dance."

"We're infested with festival spirit!" Bankhead said.

A shirtless man with a cigarette dangling from his lips sat on the ground on Clinton Parkway tapping a pair of drumsticks together in time with music blaring from his car stereo. Other people banged on conga drums, threw footballs, drank beer or walked to the nearby gas station to fill their gas tanks.

"This is perfect. You meet people that you're going to be camping with," said Lindsay Sorenson, 22, of Madison, Wis., who said she waited 18 hours to get into the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee.

Beating the heat

Temperatures topped 100 degrees, and as of 6 p.m., five people inside the festival grounds had been treated by paramedics for heat exhaustion, said Capt. Lexie Engleman, of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical. In all, about 30 people had been treated for various injuries or illnesses, but nothing serious, she said.

Audio Clips
Wakarusa Traffic Snarl

Once inside the festival, fans got busy setting up camp and began walking the hilly roads between the campgrounds and the stage area.

Derek Deviny, of Salt Lake City, who goes by the name MaLaCoiD, wore a hot pink T-shirt and yellow Crocs and walked around peddling $1 pairs of glasses that produced a hologram-like rainbow effect. He said he was trying to spread a message, "You don't need to be wasted, just put on these rainbow glasses."

Lawrence resident Trey Hornbeck and his friends prepared at their campsite for an 8:30 p.m. game of "beer pong." Hornbeck described his festival schedule as, "Go to the lake for the day, drink here in the afternoon, once the sun goes down, we start heading up to the stages."

Members of the Chicago-based funk band Deuce set up camp near the Homegrown Stage, where they're scheduled to perform Saturday evening. Their Chrysler van sat nearby, loaded with musical equipment, camping gear, a watermelon and a bottle of rum.

"We want to spread the message that the Deuce is loose," bandleader Matthew J. Kerr I said.

Lawrence workers

Many Lawrence residents are getting involved in the act. At a table under the Revival tent, Sarah Hill Nelson, of Bowersock Mills and Power Co., set up a booth providing information about "Green Tags," which festivalgoers can buy starting at $5 to have the amount of energy it took them to drive to the festival replaced in the power grid with alternative energy.

The Wakarusa Festival bought one of the tags for its expected energy consumption this year, which Hill-Nelson said would offset more than 63,000 pounds of greenhouse gasses.

Lawrence residents Jake Schultz and Jake Jordan, both 17, who called themselves "Wakarusa Official Waste Disposal Technicians," drove a golf cart around picking up bags of trash.

"We're keeping Lawrence safe and beautiful by disposing of this biohazardous waste," Schultz said.

Wakarusa Festival 2006

More about the Wakarusa Festival



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BrianR 11 years, 10 months ago

The World Cup starts today but this article is suggesting that there is actually something else happening in the world? I don't believe it.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 10 months ago

Did the State of Kansas hire Tom Cruise's sister to do our PR?

Just wondering.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

"The west side of Lawrence was a dreadlock-filled gridlock Thursday"

Dreadlock-filled gridlock-- cute alliteration, but far from accurate.

narky 11 years, 10 months ago

was that dude in the slideshow smoking dope, someone alert the authorities.

Mike Blur 11 years, 10 months ago

Nah narky, many hippies and alternative-types roll their own tobacco ciggies, typically with Bali Shag, tobacco of choice of the mellow set. A friend of mine-an older, retired punk-rocker type--told me it's cheaper to roll your own.

It was actually neat to read this article--hippies taking their traffic woes with a mellow attitude. If everyone did that, Lawrence would be a much more relaxed place to drive around, and maybe the love would spread around. Or not.

smokey 11 years, 10 months ago

drugs are every where, your not going to get them all with the stop and go car searches... yes it brings in some good cash for the city, and it is one of the biggest festivals of the summer... which is good for lawrence, and the state, at least we have something to say about kansas...

neopolss 11 years, 10 months ago

The green tags are exactly what the Kyoto treaty is based on. Buying energy credits to offset emission. It's a shame pure and simple. But hey, listen to the enviro flunkies. They're not in it for any personal reasons right?

Hunter2049 11 years, 10 months ago

Click-it or ticket, I was always told......

pundit 11 years, 10 months ago

75x55 has it right > "give them money to pay for the power they're already going to dump into the grid (and get compensated for) anyway?"

And I remind all since the LJW is going to buy tags for part of their electricity, watch for a colored green tag (as in gee-whiz we are environmental) to be printed in your paper soon.

pundit 11 years, 10 months ago

Marion says: >"Liberals" are funny people!

What really is hillareous is Marion calling the Hill family "Liberal"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

Greeg tags aren't a fraud. They are merely a way to convince energy corporations to do something, anything about our energy supply problems. These corporations have one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to make money. Some consumers are willing to pay a little extra to encourage these corporations to do the right thing, since they likely wouldn't do it on their own.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

I think that bush and the pm of denmark are not at camp david but are really at the fest. having a good time. who better right?

countrygirl 11 years, 10 months ago

Just wondering---how is the traffic out on the west end of town today? I have a errand to run out that way later today. Thanks!

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

????? no idea trying to avoid driving till I head out tom. then this will all be over when I get back yeah..

Richard Heckler 11 years, 10 months ago

"Gree Tags"!

What a hoot!

Talk about FRAUD!

If I were selling something like "Green Tags", the AG would be after me so hard that I wouldn't be able to RUN fast enough!

"Liberals" are funny people!



Perhaps there is a reason for that Marion. Enjoy your day.

BTW I thought you were on your way out of town when the smoking ban was implemented and the next thing I know you're sipping beer at Tellers where we first met. Guess Lawrence ain't so bad after all.

Confrontation 11 years, 10 months ago

"We're infested with festival spirit!" Bankhead said

Oh, so that's what they call it now. I thought it used to be called Chlamydia, Lice, or Syphilis.

staff04 11 years, 10 months ago

Actually Marion, Emissions trading as it exists now is a product of the EPA under the Bush Administration.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 10 months ago

pundit wrote: "Marion says: >"'Liberals' are funny people!" What really is hillareous is Marion calling the Hill family 'Liberal'"

Nothing surprises me in a State where Shallenberger has been criticised as not conservative enough.

drewdun 11 years, 10 months ago

Knew that it would be less than ten posts in before one of the fascists got a dig in at liberals. You 'people' are truly pathetic.


Ken Miller 11 years, 10 months ago

Is Eagle Bend still open for business? Maybe they should open up a temp Frisbee Golf Course and charge $5.00 a round when the Wak Fest comes through - a little revenue enhancement for you there, Sheckie.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 10 months ago

can we just get rid of the girl hanging out the car window already, two days running already

conservative 11 years, 10 months ago

Ahh come on momma, she's kind cute. In a stoned out hippie, too young for me kinda way. :P

bullistic 11 years, 10 months ago

please god may it be over soon...and many the hippies actually leave town. They have a way of wasting space and dirtying the place up. Perhaps some one should give these dreadlock wearing scumbags some advice....wash, rince, repeat.

brfts 11 years, 10 months ago

since lawrence is a college town it will always have hippies..even after the concert is whiners

bullistic 11 years, 10 months ago

well these hippies are the bad hippies. They had an entire south park episode dedicated to this type of bad hippie. The leech off the town that was kind enough to host the event, but bring in little money beyond what is spent at the show because they are dirty filthy beggars.

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