Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival 2007

Bands fuel funky fun

Police presence down on first day of event

Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival-goers rejoice to the music of Papa Mali underneath the shade of the Revival Tent.  Thousands of music lovers converged on the Clinton Lake State Park on Thursday for the opening day of the four day music festival, which features over one hundred local and national bands.

Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival-goers rejoice to the music of Papa Mali underneath the shade of the Revival Tent. Thousands of music lovers converged on the Clinton Lake State Park on Thursday for the opening day of the four day music festival, which features over one hundred local and national bands.

June 8, 2007


Past Event
Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2007

featuring Widespread Panic, Medeski Martin & Wood, Yonder Mountain String Band, and more TBA

  • When: Friday, June 8, 2007, time TBA
  • Where: Clinton State Park, Clinton Lake, Lawrence
  • Cost: $119 - $435
  • More on this event....
Reader poll
Are you going to the Wakarusa Festival?

or See the results without voting

Plans in place if severe weather strikes festival

As rain clouds moved into the area, so did thousands of campers for this weekend's fourth annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival. Enlarge video

Local couple literally has music festival in own backyard

Thousands of concert goers descend on Lawrence and set up camp for the weekend, but one couple sets up camp not just for the entire festival - but permanently, for the year. Enlarge video

Wakarusa 2007, Thursday

The first day of the fourth annual Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival. Enlarge video

If the Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival means rock concerts, camping out and environmentalism, then Michael Rouse may be the embodiment of Wakarusa's spirit.

The guitarist and singer for the Fort Collins, Colo., band WoolEye, a self-described blend of "funky, psychedelic rock 'n' roll with a Southern flair," arrived at the Wakarusa festival with his bandmates and their families in a big yellow school bus.

And while the bus at one time in its history used to cart children back and forth between home and schools in Colorado, it doesn't run like an average school bus.

It runs mostly on vegetable oil.

"We get it from local Chinese restaurants in town," said Rouse, pointing to a giant container of the brown oil that will soon make its way into the bus engine when the band travels to its next show.

Rouse and his bandmates bought the bus and jury-rigged the engine to make it operate on oil more commonly used to fry plates of sesame chicken.

"Man, we save so much money," Rouse said, with his bandmates nodding in agreement. "I wanted to do something for the environment, but mostly it's to save money."

The engine starts on diesel, but once the engine gets hot enough, Rouse can flip a switch on the bus and have it run on vegetable oil.

It worked well enough to get the band, its equipment and family members from the college town in Colorado to Lawrence, where it will also be the band's shelter until WoolEye takes the stage Sunday.

Welcome to Wakarusa 2007.

The first day in the fourth year of the massive outdoor concert festival started and ended with hardly a hitch Thursday at Clinton State Park.

Crowds were not heavy and people seemed to spend much of the day buying wares from vendors or getting set up at campgrounds in anticipation for the bigger three days ahead.

"We're anticipating a lot more people (today) and Saturday," said organizer Brett Mosiman, who predicted there were 12,000 people on hand Thursday. "(Thursday) is basically like a free day to get here early, set up your tent and see some music at night."

Fewer police

For Ryan Jones, who came to see Ozomatli, Thursday marked the first day of his fourth year at the festival.

Seated along a road at Clinton Lake and reading Chuck Palahniuk's latest book, Jones reflected on past Wakarusa experiences.

"It has its ups and downs every year," the Kansas City, Kan., resident said. "Last year, the police were a little more unruly than usual."

By most accounts, the law enforcement presence Thursday was significantly lighter than the year before, when concertgoers complained loudly about what they said was an overbearing police force.

In particular, vehicle inspections at festival entrances by the Kansas Highway Patrol did not happen this year.

"We came in today at the exact same time as we did last year," said Anne Burgess, a Lawrence woman. "And last year we were held up for miles and this year we got right in."

There were few complaints about police Thursday.

"It's more like (police) are giving people the space they paid for," said Sean Garner, who made the trip to the festival from San Marcos, Texas, with his girlfriend.

Here comes the sun

The event dodged bullets of rain that appeared certain to head its way around midafternoon, as dark ominous storm clouds and thunder loomed all around.

But hardly a drop of rain fell on the festival grounds, and a gusty wind settled into still, sun-soaked air by dusk.

It'll make a comfortable night of sleep in the vegetable oil-powered bus for Rouse and his entourage, who all say that the Wakarusa festival has a major buzz in the Rocky Mountains.

"Colorado doesn't even have a festival like this," Rouse said. "It would seem like something to be proud of."


ryanjasondesch 10 years, 9 months ago

Hippies: Don't listen to those telling you to go home. Those of us interested in our local economy appreciate your presence here this weekend. So come, stay awhile, enjoy yourselves. Afterall, if we didn't have the diversity you contribute to, but rather a world made up entirely of boring people like I'm sure b3 is, well that's what the world would look like if the Germans had won the war.

Kevin Sontag 10 years, 9 months ago

First the giggling stoners come, then the drum circles start to form, and before you know it, the college know-it-all hippies show up. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Someone call a hippie exterminator!!

Kevin Sontag 10 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and by the way, those of you uptight people out there who defend the hippies from the silly jokey comments on this website, get a friggin' sense of humor! If you can't make fun of dirty people who wear tie-dyed shirts, drive around in VW vans, listen to crappy jam-band music, and smell like they haven't showered in a month, then who the hell can you make fun of? If the "hippie haters" actually wanted them to get out of town, we would go over there with a giant boombox playing Slayer while wearing a DEA jacket and dark sunglasses. But no, we let them have their festival, and we just sit back and make fun of them. If somehow this upsets you and you feel the need to come on here and say things like, without hippies, "the world would look as if the Germans had won the war", then I suggest going to your doctor, and having the rod removed from the depths of your butt. And for god sakes, get a sense of humor booster shot while you're there!! Life's too short to bitch about people making fun of hippies.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 9 months ago

I sure like this guy, Perry Buck... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/jun...

That's a nice video inteveiw with him, as well...

ryanjasondesch 10 years, 9 months ago

b3: Why did your first comment get removed? That's kinda odd, there wasn't anything bad it in.

thetagger: If you can't see the humor in the phrase "if the Germans had won the war," and it's obvious cultural relevance to one of the great American writers of the 60's and 70's, then maybe you're the one without the sense of humor. But you're pretty clever with that South Park reference, boy that one hadn't worn itself out over the last several days. . . You like making fun of hippies, great. I don't care, but you're not saying anything I haven't heard a thousand times. I just think you're a flipping retard for doing it. Is there a baby around you could take candy from too? Talk about hunting deer with a rocket-propelled grenade. Yawn. . .

Kelly Boyle-Wolfe 10 years, 9 months ago


I agree wholeheartedly. My first thought was the interest that this man has in the festival, not only because he lives RIGHT THERE, but he is obviously a "people" person. It is refreshing to have someone prove that there doesn't have to be so little understanding between generations and lifestyles. Merely taking an interest in other ways of life, and other perspectives. No wonder he has made so many friends from the festival every year. I'll bet his grandkids adore him.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 9 months ago

KellyBoyleWolfe And he said he was skeptical at first: but after meeting people and talking to them... well... we can all take a lesson from that...

And I'll bet you're right... They probably think they're granddad is big-time cool... and they'd be right about that...

jessmoyer 10 years, 9 months ago

all this negative energy coming from people who i won't waste my time degrading.....are all these so called "hippies" spending time bitching about the uptight close minded haters....no, they are chillin, listenin to music, and enjoying nature. and what can possibly be negative about that. maybe as a nice balance we could hold the annual white supremacy convention.....that way everybody is happy. stop wasting time being angry people. maybe take some hippie advice and just "chill man".

squeaker 10 years, 9 months ago

Not a hippie hater but I like to see a journalist get their facts straight in their story...

The long lines we went through last year at Waka wasn't the fault of the cops- it was the idiot private security goons that trashed the inside of my car- stole the bottled beer out of my cooler and kept us waiting for hours to get in. BTW- where did my beer end up- must of been one hell of a party!

I heard the troopers were searching cars on the turnpike but we never saw them.

this year the cops have been cool- but I thought they werent going to be riding those loud carts through the campgrounds.

coreyjamesdio 10 years, 9 months ago

when i came to lawrence 18 years ago it was the most laid back, music lovin', cool party town i'd ever experienced, and i'd lived all over the U.S. the hippies, punks, old and young all ended up at the same shows, parties, and ALL smelled bad, but co-existed nicely. anyone remember OMEGA? sure do miss those days...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.