What's left when the show is over..

Wakarusa 2011

Wakarusa 2011. For the 3rd year in a row, we've made the June trip to Mulberry Mountain for the annual heat survival test known as Wakarusa.

The Good

This year had a great line up, and despite the heat was an awesome time.

I always look forward to Wakarusa, and a big part of that is unlike many other larger festivals, Wakarusa always brings in a great selection of local and regional acts, many of which are every bit as good and often surpass the headliners.

Best new musical finds for 2011: Hoots and Hellmouth and Mountain Standard Time.

We tend to pretty much hang out on the Backwoods stage, and as a result don't catch many of the headliners on the larger stages. Of the bits we did catch, My Morning Jacket put on a killer set, Umphrey's McGee knocked out a great late night set, Grace Potter turned in a decent set, although the stage banter was a bit too contrived for me.

This was the first year we didn't check out any of the food vendors (much to be said for a refrigerator/freezer and stove in an RV) but everyone I talked to said it was all pretty good to really good.

The line getting in was FAR better this year than last year. They're figuring out how to get people on and off the mountain a bit more efficiently which is a very good thing. Last year was a bit of mess.

The Bad

For some inexplicable reason, the "beefed up" security wasn't firing on all cylinders. Various members of the security teams felt it necessary to force people to pour out their water (in 105 degree heat mind you) with the instructions that they'd be able to "refill" inside the venue. The problem was, there WASN'T any place to refill inside some of the venues. It didn't matter if your bottle was sealed or not, if it was liquid, you couldn't bring it in.

I got into a major confrontation with one of these kids who refused to let me bring in a sealed can of soda (being a diabetic in that heat means I have to have very fast acting carbs with me at all times in this sort of heat).

This was ridiculous, and in fact, dangerous. We contacted various members of the Waka staff in an attempt to get the situation rectified, but it still took the better part of almost 2 days before the control obsessed security staff got their collective cranial rectal inversions attended to.

It wasn't just the attendees who were being harassed about the water either. The security staff handling stage load in on the Backwoods stage was pulling the same maneuver on the bands and the stage crews as well, resulting in the above pic.

There were other minor glitches. The onsite RV dump service was markedly less than competent. I paid $40 to have them dump my tanks on the ground for me, as they couldn't figure out how to securely connect to my drain line, not once, but twice. Maybe the heat had gotten to them.

The Ugly.

Wakarusa for the most part has a very laid back crowd. This is one of the reasons it's one of my favorite festivals of the year. Yet, every year there has to be some group of idiots hell bent on spoiling the fun for everyone, and this year was no exception. A group of morons came in with quarter sticks of dynamite and were lighting them off in the porta johns. Over the course of the event, they blew up at least 7 by my count. This was incredibly stupid, and extremely dangerous. Fortunately no one got hurt.

Wakaing Wakarusa..

Various shots from each day..