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I don't understand how people can lump every festival-goer into the "dirty, drug taking, patchouli wearing hippie" stereotype. Yeah, I've been to Waka... once as a festival-goer and once as Press. I had an amazing time both years. Good music, good people (for the most part). I've been to other festivals too... not just "hippie/Jam Band" festivals. Rock, rap, Punk, Reggae, Electronica/Techno, Christian, Bluegrass... name a genre, I've been to a festival. And I have noticed that the least rambunctious crowd (yeah, the 'hippie' crowd) is the one who's the most scrutinized. If drugs is what you're worried about, you'll find it at ANY festival.Sure, there's going to be a couple bad-eggs in the group... that's inevitable. But come on. The security has been ridiculously overstaffed the past couple years... in 2006, the park contracted with an outside surveillance company to let the Lawrence/County/State cops sit in trees with night vision... hidden cameras around the park broadcasting to surveillance vans with security screens on top of hills watching everyone in the entire park... Seems a bit overdone to me.I also don't understand how the 'locals' don't appreciate/understand the thousands of people who visit their town once a year. I'm not talking about the select few who hitchhike their way around the country and live their lives bumming off people. No one notices the thousands of, dare I say, responsible hippies who come to Lawrence from all corners of the county... legitimately, on their own hard earned money... and support your local businesses. You don't notice these people because they don't fit into your stereotypical definition of a hippie. And I can assure you, most people who attend Waka aren't trying to mooch off the locals, buy a cheap 12-pack and sell it at the fest for 'stadium' prices.Bottom line... I'd hate to see Waka go. I've enjoyed visiting Lawrence the past two Junes. But if the locals (and I know a bunch of locals that love the festival) want to push the festival out of town, I'll continue to attend Waka no matter where it is. The reason being... I just love music.
October 14, 2008 at 9:33 a.m.
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