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Music festival preview: Wakarusa

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 16:04

wakarusa poster

With the spring 2012 semester quickly coming to an end, the time to be thinking about exciting summer concerts and festivals is rapidly approaching.

While there are many music festivals this summer for students to choose from, a lot of the most popular festivals take place in other states and places too far for many students to afford to travel to.

However, the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival is one event that is both local and popular, and is a great option for students who want to listen to great music but don’t want to drive too far away from Arkansas to do so.

Wakarusa takes place this year from May 31 to June 3 on Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Ark. Ozark, which boasts a population of 3,525 citizens, has been the site of Wakarusa for the last four years.

Before the festival moved to Arkansas in 2009, it was held in Lawrence, Kan. It was established in 2004 by co-founders Brett Mosiman, Timothy L. Smith, John Brooks and Nathan Prenger.

In a 2010 interview with, Mosiman said Wakarusa was started by “four buddies sitting around having a beer in the middle of winter thinking it would be a good idea to start a music and camping festival.”

The festival has been the host of numerous big name artists, including a few Grammy award-winning artists such as The Flaming Lips and Wilco. Artists ranging from Ben Folds to The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and Cake have all played at Wakarusa. Last year’s festival included My Morning Jacket, Minus the Bear and even dubstep artist Skrillex.

This year’s lineup is sure to be just as popular as the past years, with The Avett Brothers, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and headlining artist Pretty Lights.

Andrew Fleeman, a sophomore marketing major from Manila, is planning on attending this year’s Wakarusa with a few of his friends.

“I have never been to Wakarusa but I have wanted to go for the past four years,” Fleeman said. “I decided to go to Wakarusa this year because I wanted to have a small summer retreat and also wanted to see some of my favorite bands such as Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and the Avett Brothers,” he continued.

Fleeman said the band he is most excited about seeing at Wakarusa is the Avett Brothers.

“Seeing them live is going to be amazing,” he said.

Wakarusa isn’t like every other music festival where you pay to go listen to a lot of bands play for one long day. Wakarusa is a four-day event that not only allows camping, but encourages it.

Fleeman said he plans on fishing right beside the river while camping. He also hopes to meet some new people at Wakarusa.

Festivalgoers have the option to either buy a two-day pass for $99, a three-day pass for $139, or a full event pass for $179. The camping passes are purchased separately ranging in price from between $29 and $149, depending on how close you want to get to the main venue grounds.

With the camping passes, concert goers can bring their own tents and set up a campsite right outside their parked vehicle.

Wakarusa is said to be worth the price, for not only the music, but the experience of the event as well.

“It will totally be worth the price! I don’t mind paying at all,” Fleeman said.

Fleeman is also hoping to attend other music festivals this summer, such as the Vans Warped Tour in Dallas, Texas, and Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn.

For ticket and artist lineup information on Wakarusa 2012, visit


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