Feelin’ Festy

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been slacking off a little in the last few weeks. I’ve been jumping from event to event, city to city – it has been a ridiculous amount of fun, but taking a little bit of time out to chronicle/reflect is good regardless of how busy I get. So let’s talk.


Instead of doing one massive post, I’m going to try and break this down into several smaller posts that hold together better. First, the festival post.

From June 4-7, I was at Wakarusa, a music and arts festival just outside Ozark, Arkansas. The following weekend, June 11-14, I was in Manchester, Tennessee, at Bonnoroo – another music and arts festival.

I didn’t really have a bunch of expectations going in, which was nice. It allowed me to just be carried off by the music, scene, people, and happiness that radiated on both sets of grounds.

At each festival, I saw a ridiculous amount of music. I’ll spare you the whole list. Wakarusa featured groups like Slightly Stoopid, Macy Gray and Galactic, STS9, Big Gigantic, and Nahko and Medicine for the People. At Bonnaroo – Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, Bassnectar, and Rhiannon Giddens.

Despite loving both of them, Wakarusa was definitely my favorite. Just for a brief comparison, based on my experiences this year:

Wakarusa                                                    Bonnaroo
About 20,000 people                            About 80,000 people
In the mountains                                    on a farm
hot as hell                                              hot as hell
less well known                                   a little more mainstream
higher quality music                          wider variety of music
people dance so hard      attendees perfected the head bob

I could definitely go on and on about the pros and cons of each one, but that’s a nice summary. Overall, Wakarusa was just more out there – the camping areas feel like communities, the people get wilder but are professionals at being wild, and you can’t help but dance.

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The Wakarusa entrance. I don’t have a good picture of it, but you walk through all these rainbow arches leading up to this entrance. It definitely makes you feel like you’re going somewhere slightly magical. That’s definitely one of the things that Wakarusa accomplished perfectly – it made you feel like you were in another world.

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I just like this picture. That’s it.
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As I said before, you get all kinds of people at Wakarusa. Including very colorful people wearing giant puppets.

I don’t have quite as many pictures of Bonnaroo because I was slightly less enamored with the scene. My pictures frequently focused on capturing the sheer number of people present.
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This was the main stage. They did a good job playing the music loud enough for everyone to hear even though there were a bazillion people.

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Yep. A bazillion people.

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This picture was taken Thursday afternoon, before the majority of people arrived. I wasn’t able to appreciate how open and lovely this was, because I hadn’t experienced the crowds that would appear later.

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At Bonnaroo they had multiple walls that artists and spray paint enthusiasts alike could decorate. I conveniently matched the the wall, so I thought a picture was in order.

I do hope to have a job and more responsibilities next summer, but I also really hope to be able to attend both of these festivals again. They’re both pretty expensive – but you’re not paying just for the music. You’re paying for access to unparalleled experiences, groups of amazing people, and tired, happy dancin’ feet.

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