Archive for Friday, March 30, 2007

Wakarusa promoter expects ‘peaceful’ music and camping extravaganza

March 30, 2007


It's time to get ready to jam, not to focus on the past.

That's the message from Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival promoter Brett Mosiman as he looks ahead to this year's music extravaganza roughly two months away. The festival, scheduled for June 7 to 10 at Clinton State Park, features more than 70 bands, including headliners Widespread Panic and Ben Harper.

"It'll be the best festival yet," Mosiman said. "Our approach is to run it responsibly and work with the community and put together an incredible lineup. ... We would like to see it become part of the community and a staple every summer."

The festival's survival for a fourth year wasn't guaranteed. After two years of generally unfettered partying - and the death of a camper in 2005 from a drug overdose - police upped their presence last summer with a checkpoint, dozens of drug arrests and hidden surveillance cameras.

Police said they were doing their job, but some campers complained it was too intrusive. Mosiman said the drug arrests grabbed headlines from the music and economic benefit of the festival.

"We spent the last six months going to community leaders and going to politicians and trying to get our message out that this was an amazing thing for tourism, for revenue, for culture," he said.

County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he and other leaders have been meeting with Mosiman, working to learn lessons from last year.

"I think they have done everything that organizers can and should be doing to try to ensure a successful, safe, festival for 2007," Weinaug said.

Mosiman said ticket sales are on par with last year.

The festival last year attracted nearly 15,000 people per day.

"We want this event to be happy, harmonious, peaceful, and it will be," Mosiman said.


classclown 11 years ago

If you need to do drugs to enjoy the music, then the music sucks.

gkwhdw 11 years ago

Guess I don't understand the importance of beer and drugs to enjoy an evening at music concerts. But I guarantee this festival is one I personally don't think I'll ever attend. When the media tells me there are people coming from the east coast to attend the wakarusa festival and get into trouble for using drugs, this is a place I don't wanna be.Why does everyone think they have to be intoxicated or drugged before they start having fun? I realize this is probably an old fashioned way to think, but it makes sense to me, as well as others in this world.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

"Wakarusa promoter expects 'medicated' music and camping extravaganza"

Ann Hamil 11 years ago

Must be why so much Budweiser is consumed at the "Country Jamboree"

Mike Blur 11 years ago

No matter what, DGCO will use their Homeland Security funds to bust a move on Wak attendees. That will be the death knell for the Wak Fest as is.

oldgoof 11 years ago

There are more drugs (oh, and guns) at the Manhattan Country Stampede than at Wakarusa. What the Stampede misses is the storm-trooper presence that Lawrence gets, which perpetuates the stereotypes.

TheGoldenBoy 11 years ago

Eventhough I don't attend the festivals myself, I hope they think of some way of discouraging the police surveillance. It gives the impression that the people who in Lawrence and Douglas Co. are nothing but a bunch of druggies which is obviously not true! I know they claim there was a drug overdose at the one they had in 2005. But hey, if it was only one well then thats pretty good really! As for the KHP checkpoints, maybe they should come a day or two earlier or use K-10 or Highway 40 instead.

alm77 11 years ago

gkwhdw, I never understood that either. Why pay $200 to go to a festival and not have any memories of it? I remember when I was in high school some friends and I were going to a concert and they were talking about taking drug and I was like "WHAT? I'm not paying this money to be somewhere and then not actually BE there." They looked at me like that was the most brilliant thing they'd heard, and saved their drugs for later.

bd 11 years ago

oldgoof, get a clue! I have been to both and the waka fest was a drug fest/paradise!

preebo 11 years ago

I will probably go, but I am far too old to be camping out with all the Frisbee chucking, bong toking, tye-dyed, Cheeba monkeys.

It beats driving all the way to Tennessee for Bonnaroo.

...It should be a good time, though. Looking forward to it.

craigers 11 years ago

I find it interesting that this music festival continues to push forward for the fourth straight year and when a group had a festival put together for all Christian music (One Way Festival), the people at Clinton lake said they didn't approve the festival because they didn't want to hurt the grass. Thank goodness Clinton, Mo welcomed all the tourist money with open arms. And I can imagine that there were hardly any problems like the Wack fest in Lawrence has.

Anne Tangeman 11 years ago

So....will there be hidden cameras or not?

Sigmund 11 years ago

Lawrence should suspend all of its laws for the The Wakarusa Drug and Music Festival. Let's not give the rest of the country a reason to laugh at us backwards Kansans from the land of Oz and embarrass our City and our State further by being so narrow minded as to insist these people obey our outdated criminal codes.

I strongly urge the PLC/GRA to get out front on this issue and promise the voters in this city that if elected they will seek to take all of Kansas law, and like the marijuana ordinance, make any violation a mere municipal code violation, subject only to a $50 fine.

lynnd 11 years ago

i've been to all three wakarusa fests. while i'm sure there are folks doing drugs and selling drugs, it is not the "drug fest" that people make it out to be. it's not like there are people just doing drugs everywhere you look.

there are also plenty of "non-hippy" types there as well. there are all kinds of people at the festival. people who don't even attend should quit stereotyping something they don't know anything about.

Roadkill_Rob 11 years ago

Well said, Lynnd...if it was such a "drug fest", why did they need hidden surveillance cameras everywhere to bust people?

I have witnessed some drug use and some wasted people out there, but it's not as bad as a bunch of drunk commuters at the Country Stampede or after football games.

kneejerkreaction 11 years ago

Pound for pound, with all the people it attrats, the Wakarusa Fest. is one heck of a lot more peaceful than when rap music events are held at just about any venue in Lawrence.

Shelby 11 years ago

THAT is a lot of crappy bands.

Confrontation 11 years ago

Good Lord! I can already smell the raunchiness of the Wackorusa Pestival!

bd 11 years ago

did any of you people make down through shakedown lane?????? 2 years ago the glass pipes were lined all up and down the lane! dudes walking around selling cups of shrumes, pot brownies and about anything else you wanted. It was a zoo!

ryanjasondesch 11 years ago

Wow, some of you people make me sick. So much for a free country where people can choose their own lifestyle. If you don't like drugs, don't do em. Pretty simple actually. It's not like the dealers are heading away from the festival during the day and visiting local elementary schools. But having the Dept. of Homeland Security, the FBI, the DEA and the ATF at a hippy music festival? Are you serious? Cuz the first thing I think of when I see a pot-smoking, dread-wearing, peace-sign-giving 20 year old, I think terrorist. GIVE ME A BREAK!

And if you don't like the music, fine, don't go. Sit at home and listen to your Yanni CD's and watch Britney Spears videos. I don't like every band there, but I betcha I don't like all of your music either, and worse I probably think its pre-manufactered garbage catered to you by some millionaire record exec while you shop at the GAP. Just like Jim Morrison said: "You need your culture spoon fed to you!"

But then again, I guess some of you just hate the business this thing brings in, and you'd rather Lawrence be known for nothing besides the Jayhawks. Why wouldn't you want this kind of money coming into our community?

ryanjasondesch 11 years ago

Quote: shut that hippyfest down, it is an embarrasment to civilized society.

Exactly. No more fun for anyone!

What exactly is civilized society?

caracalla: Admit it, you hate your job, and your wife doesn't listen to you anymore. You could always start a fight club.

cowboy 11 years ago

We should embrace the festival , have the promotion adv clearly state there is active drug enforcement so folks can plan accordingly. We ought to have a blues fest and a bluegrass fest and a reggae fest , and any other fest you want , its brings dough into douglas county and provides some entertainment value. Seeing all the youngs hippies reminds me of my youth ah the sixties.......

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years ago

When I was younger, and the concerts didn't cost so much (70's, 80's), I went to concerts all the time. There were people there who did drugs, but I didn't need to. When I walked out of the concert I was high as a kite on the music. You would have thought I was drunk or drugged, but live music is so great, you don't need drugs, legal or not.

Meatwad 11 years ago

ryan wrote "caracalla: Admit it, you hate your job, and your wife doesn't listen to you anymore. You could always start a fight club."

LOL!!!!!!!!!! RIGHT ON!!!

I for one am extremely proud that our town and our state hosts this amazing festival. It's hard to have such a large gathering without a few bad apples but the majority of the people I see are peaceful and causing no trouble and from all walks of life-- families, business people, students. I enjoy the huge variety of music -- there is something for everyone (well maybe not for people into Yanni or Britney Spears!)

Stopbreakindown 11 years ago

Complain Complain Complain So much negativity in the reader comments, insert more Complain Complain Complain

Confrontation 11 years ago

"So much for a free country where people can choose their own lifestyle"

Drugs are illegal. Didn't you get the memo? You're just pissed that you won't be able to restock your drug supplies as easily as in the past. I'd much rather have Lawrence be known for the Jayhawks, instead of your drugfest. If illegal activity has to be involved, then I'm fine with them shutting it down. Bring on the cops, and I hope you get busted for choosing to be an idiot.

ryanjasondesch 11 years ago

I choose not to do drugs you ass, but when it comes to the freedom of someone else to do them, or jerks like you telling other people how to live their lives, I choose freedom. So you've never broken the law goody-two-shoes? You never speed, or neglect to be 100% truthful on your taxes? I bet you've got a couple skeletons you self-righteous f*ck.

Bring on the cops. That's the solution to everything right? What if it was your number they were calling, even though you had a moral objection to the law, and bring out the police state in force because someone else objects to what you do? I bet you've done something somewhere along the line, and a few more jerks like you on the other side, and you're the one that's gonna get busted. Don't think it'll happen, wait a few years, tides turn, or didn't you pay attention in history class?

It's only fools like you, and the politicians who need a scapegoat, and the police who need funding raises that call peaceful music events like this "drugfests". How many arrests were there in the last 3 years from assault at Wakarusa? How many drunken brawls ensued? I was there, I saw not a single one. And I've seen plenty at the bars downtown. You wanna shut down drugfests? Shut down the bars, cuz what do you think alcohol is you putz?

It's a peaceful, legal assembly of people who exercise their freedom to enjoy live music without being hassled from the powers that be. Just cuz they're not listening to country and patting themselves on the back for voting for Bush doesn't mean they deserve to be hassled because there's a stereotype perpetuated by people like you that these events are attended by drug dealers and criminals. Next time you're doing 36 in a 35, you remember the garbage you just spewed you law breaking sorry excuse for a human being.

Stopbreakindown 11 years ago

The people that are against said event have never even been to the event. The same people probably protested Dogma when it came to a theater in Lawrence, yet never saw the movie so they really have no idea what they are b*tching about. Get a life people and stop complaining.

Mkh 11 years ago

"Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart"

TheGoldenBoy 11 years ago

How many drug arrests are predicted for this year?

ryanjasondesch 11 years ago

"i hope the police arrest all of the law breaking losers at our local durgfest, and break a few billy clubs doing it"

Well get out there and wear a helmet son! Seriously, if you have a wife, she hates you. And if you drink, you're a hypocrite too.

ScottyMac 11 years ago

I've been to both the Stampede and Wakarusa several times.

There are plenty of drugs at the Stampede. (Ever heard of Cowboy Crack? It ain't a hippy drug!)

But, at the Stampede, I've never witnessed a car search, a campsite ransack, or a horny sherriff's deputy looking into tents with night vision goggles. Why is it necessary at Wakarusa?

Conversely, I've never witnessed a single fight at Wakarusa. Can't say the same thing about the Stampede.

Why does Wakarusa warrant an aggressive, hostile police presence, but the Stampede doesn't? Don't get me wrong: There is no shortage of d***-headed cops at Tuttle Creek. But nothing compared to Wakarusa 2006. That was absolutely ridiculous.

terrapin2 11 years ago

caracalla & confrontation both blow chunks! You two should both get a f'in life and get over your insecurities! Or better yet, get together and knock each other senseless!

Waka Fest rules! I've been to many Dead shows, blues festivals, jazz festivals, reggae festivals, arena concerts, club shows, etc, and me, my wife, and my son have attended all three Waka fests! We're just glad we moved back to Lawrence in time to enjoy the first Waka fest, and are thrilled to have an awesome music fest right in our own 'backyard'! We simply love live music! There are many stellar bands scheduled for this year, and I'm looking forward to hearing & seeing as many of them as I possibly can!

I say let peaceful people convene under peaceful circumstances, and if they can maintain that atmosphere, then let them do anything they want so long as they don't cause any harm to anyone else.

Peace out all you funkified freakmasters of the sane world! Waka 2007 is going to be a BLAST!!! :-) :-P Lets have the tea-toadlers and the fuzz stay in town so the rest of us can party down and enjoy some kind music! ;-)

First stop, Terrapin Station..............

BDitty 11 years ago


doing drugs in a state park = illegal drink at a bar downtown = legal

"doing 36 in a 35" = punishable by maybe $50 bucks caught with weed, shrooms, etc. = punishable by $200 or more

This isn't rocket science.

You don't like the laws this country has decided on (by an over-whelming majority) then move you and all your other socially irresponsible friends to Amsterdam.

yellowhouse 11 years ago

(not legal) Smoke a weed---and you are a drug abusing addict ie: unlawful user.

(legal) Smoke a cigarette--you are an addicted legal smoker, and part of the largest medical crisis in U.S. History guaranteed to get cancer if something else dont kill you first!

Stop smoking a weed--nothing happens...

Stop smoking your cigaretts--withdrawls, irratability, shakes.....

YEP THE law makes perfect sense to me!

Call in the dogs, the guns, the tazers, there could be some weed at that fest dude!

yellowhouse 11 years ago



BDitty 11 years ago

Smoking cigarettes doesn't "gaurantee" that you will get cancer. Don't confuse mass media disinformation with medical fact. Yes, cigarettes can lead to an increased chance of cancer but it is really based more on a persons genetic make-up. Why can comeone smoke for 40 years and be perfectly healthy and another person smoke for 1 year and get lung cancer? Answer... genetics! Quit defending weed like it has zero side effects or is perfectly harmless.

KsTwister 11 years ago

It is a good thing for the young people to do something they enjoy and most inform me the music fest is great fun. Of course they tell me this soaking wet and sunburned.(??) Its their turn,let them have good friends and good music and a good time. I'm glad for them.

yellowhouse 11 years ago

Oh YES defending cigarette smoking makes much more sense!

Excuse me for my momentary loss of intelligence!

Afterall you can smoke for 40 years with no known side affects....cough cough, oh excuse me again...

djshawn 11 years ago

"I'd much rather have Lawrence be known for the Jayhawks, instead of your drugfest. If illegal activity has to be involved, then I'm fine with them shutting it down." I'll follow your logic. Drugs and underage drinking have gone hand in hand with college since there were institutions of higher education. Don't get me wrong, not everyone partakes, but enough have and will continue to do so to give college life a stigma. Ever heard the line, "There's a time and place for everything, and it's called college"?

So, are you going to blindly support your beloved Jayhawks and all they do.....including the illegal underage drinking on Mass and countless house parties across Lawrence and all the blow that's consumed by the upper class kids in the Greek system? If so, you sir....are a hypocrite.

Following your own logic we should "shut down" America's colleges, including Kansas University. Then what will you have to be proud of in your town? I guess you'd probably be comfy with the fact that without colleges the majority of folks wouldn't have so many opportunities to embrace culture and open their minds while augmenting their overall intelligence. Then you'd have a town full of as many closed minded, change-fearing folks as yourself.'d be in heaven.

phishful 11 years ago

WOW I never knew the people of Lawrence to have such down right negative attitudes. You should be more ashamed of the way you are acting on here than you should ever be of a harmless music festival. I have been going to festivals for years and to see that you people are so quick to pass judgement and assume that we are all wasted/drug toting fools baffles me. I for one am a college graduate and have been a productive member of this society for as long as I have been attending these festivals. Reevaluate the situation and maybe check it out for yourself before you think you know what its all about!



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