Waka 2015 through my iphone

I only had my phone and my film camera this year at Wakarusa, and it made it all more enjoyable. Here are the best phone photos.

Remember I told you several artists walked by the Love Hope Strength table and I totally got photos with all? The only one I missed was Chance The Rapper… he walked and I missed him.

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Wakarusa 2014, Saturday (and Sunday)

Saturday was a great day for Love Hope Strength! We broke the goal of 300 people signed up. By the time we put things up, we were at 317, with a day to add to that. From what I hear, this has been the best year at Wakarusa.

We had a lot of on-and-off rain most of the day. The last of it hit toward the of Walk Off The Earth‘s set. They were on my list of sets I wanted to catch, but I didn’t know if it would be possible.  We had a lot of people come by around that time at the LHS table, so I was only able to get close to the stage when they were already half into their set. They are totally my cup of tea. Thanks for the recommendation, @DocMurda! I knew they did a cover of “Somebody I Used To Know,” but what I didn’t know, is that they do so with just one guitar… for all 5 of them. This is basically what happened at Waka:

The only other two sets I wanted to catch that day were The Mowgli’s and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. And they happened to have back-to-back sets on different stages. The Mowgli’s set was such a party. The guys and gal sand a couple of new songs, which made me super excited to think of their second album coming together soon! There were great favorites, starting with “Emily.” After the first couple of songs, the band commented on how lame it was the fact that there were just about five folks in the huge VIP area at the Revival Tent. Usually, comments like that make it OK for people to start jumping the fence from the general to VIP areas, but Wakarusa security has been getting more agresive in the last 3 years, so people were discouraged to do so this time. But then it happened, security opened up a part of the fence and everyone went to the VIP area, closer to the stage, and the party started! Some of the other favorites were  “Say It, Just Say It,” “Slowly, Slowly,” “Waiting for the Dawn,” “The Great Divide,” “Love is Easy,” “Clean Light,” “Time” (which totally made me miss Mike in the band), and most likely, they ended their set with “San Francisco.” I couldn’t tell you for sure, because I took off about 10 minutes before the end of their set, so that I could get to the Edward Sharpe set and get a good spot.

I should’ve stayed at The Mowgli’s longer. After all, I didn’t get super close at Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros.. at least not as close as others that got to hang out with Alex Ebert, as he came down to sing among the crowd for several of the songs. These guys from Fayettechill totally got a great shot of it HERE.

When ESMO’s set started, there was an awkward mood, the first minute or so of the song, Alex was a bit off the music. As we would say in my homeland, no le hayaba la tonada. But the band caught up with him quickly and the mood got easy. Jade, who had been voted out of the band just days before that show, was definitely missed, but the show went on and it was awesome even in her absence. When it came time to sing “Home” (because they had to, we were in Arkansas, so you have to sing it, you know!), Alex invited the crowd to sing Jade’s part, and that was the only mention of her during the show.

I was alone at the ESM0s show. Like the first time I saw them, at the same Waka stage two years ago. And the same thing happened. My soul got lost in the songs, specially with Om Nashi Me, which was the very last one of the set. For me, the was smiling, dancing, singing along, and a few tears. I cannot explain it, but that’s what ESM0s shows do to me. I left that Main Stage a happier woman than when I made it there, which was hard to do because I was coming from dancing with The Mowgli’s.

I stayed at the LHS table the rest of the evening and into the night. I watched my first String Cheese Incident show from there, next to a new friend who told me all about their history and how she followed them around some in the 90’s. I enjoyed the show a lot more than I could have ever imagined. I thought I would like The Flaming Lips over String Cheese and, to my surprise, it was the opposite.

The String Cheese show was made up of two sets of two hours each. I had thought it’d be one song for a whole three hours… because, jambands. But I was so wrong. Their second included a lot of their early material, so a lot of bluegrass. The light show was amazing. I really enjoyed watching this show from far, next to a super fan.

Sunday was a wash. I woke up early to get my tent packed, grab breakfast, and move my car out of the vendor area. This was the best thing I could have done, because as soon as I got my car close to the gate, the rain started falling hard. By the time I made it to the LHS tent, there was mud everywhere, my car wouldn’t have made it out of that mess.

My original plan was to stay until the end of John Butler Trio’s set (which was scheduled to end at 12:30am Monday) and drive home. But the rain got me out of there around 2pm. I had a full list of reggae-rock bands I wanted to catch on Sunday, but alas, it didn’t happen. My heart was so hurt and full of regret for not braving the rain and staying for John Butler Trio. They are one of my favorite bands, I love their new album, and there is nowhere else in the States where I can catch them before they finish their tour. But I’ve moved on. And I can only hope I can see them live again in the coming years (Someone needs to make this happen!)

My real photos will come tomorrow. I took my sweat time editing them, but I’m done. Also, who wants to buy me a Canon 5D III? Just kidding. No one has to do that. I’m already saving my monies for it. I hope to have it by Red Rocks. That is the goal!

Wakarusa 2014, Friday

Friday started out with some storms that went on until around 2pm. The first full set I caught was J Roddy Walston & The Business, who rocked at a very wet and not so full Revival Tent. They are pure rock and roll. Almost everyone was dancing super hard. And once they played my fave song, “Take It As It Comes,” it was all over! I loved their set and their energy.

I was able to catch Dr. Dog from the Love Hope Strength booth, they were good. But I was focused on signing people up. So I didn’t really pay attention. It was really good background music, though.

I walked over to a Rub N Butt’s BBQ place while STS9 was playing and ate the best BBQ nachos I’ve ever had, they gave me life! STS9 did awesome. I can really only enjoy them live, because I enjoy the light show and watching their fans go crazy. But after a while, the music starts sounding the same to me.

I waited around for The Flaming Lips with high expectations. I had heard it was a good show, but I guess it requires you to be high or drunk, and I wasn’t neither. There were a bunch of inflatable characters with shiny coats, there were ton of lights, there was a light platform, there were lights, and there was “Realize.” But you know what didn’t show up? The big, transparent ball containing Wayne. That shit was nowhere near Wakarusa. And it was the only reason why I stayed until the end of that show. At least now I can say I’ve seen them live, even if they didn’t impress me.

Happy Waka!

Waka 2014, Thursday

After the lovely drive down the Pig Trail, I got to Mulberry Mountain, home to Waka for the next few days. I set up camp and jump right into signing people up for the bone marrow registry with Love Hope Strength.

I spent most of the time at the booth, but we’re super close to the Main Stage, so there was plenty of music. I took a break to go catch Black Joe Lewis, who was amazing. And then split to go catch Michael Franti. I was pretty close to the front, and when Franti came by the crowd I high-fived him. His show was incredible. I have seen him a few times already, and he always brings a renewed energy to the stage. The highlights of last night were a solo, acoustic start to “Sound Of Sunshine,” an unreleased song dedicated to his youngest son, and a DJ jam at the end that included songs like Pharrell’s “Happy.”

Franti’s son, Ade, has recently found out he has a disease (pardon me, but I forgot the name of it) that will eat away his kidney functions until they don’t work anymore. Here’s a bunch I good vibes to Ade. He’s a warrior!

After Franti’s set, I made my way to the Revival Tent where I caught the last few minutes of Moon Taxi’s set. I’m not very familiar with their music, but what I heard, I liked. I’ll have to looked them up when I get home, cause the most my 3G connection gives me here is the middle finger. I’m only able to write this post now, because I woke up with the sun and everyone is still sleeping.

Happy Waka!

Wakarusa 2014 (and a non-musical note about it)

So I’m going to Wakarusa this year, for the 5th consecutive year. But this year is going to be different in many ways: I don’t have a photo pass, so no going into the photo pit. And this year, I’m volunteering… so not all time will be mine to wander around the musical mountain. I’m volunteering with one of the festival’s 12 non-profit partners, the Love Hope Strength Foundation.

Two years ago at Wakarusa, I registered to be on the bone marrow donor list. Around that time, I had been learning about how minorities were so underrepresented on the registry. So when someone of an ethnic minority needs a transplant, his or her chances of finding a match are ridiculously low. So I decided to register. To make it short, last month I was contacted about being a match to a 20-year-old male with Severe Aplastic Anemia. I went through the additional testing and was confirmed as a match. I’m just waiting on the date to go donate. So that’s why this year I decided to volunteer to get some more Wakarusos on the registry.

I went over the lineup and schedule this week, so I know what sets I’m going to catch. I hope to send daily updates here, but if I don’t have a good connection, then it will just be on twitter and instagram.

I’m going to leave you with this completely unrelated (apart from the Summer theme) video from The Head and The Heart.

Here’s to all the storms skipping Wakarusa! (Seriously)

TBT: Mumford & Sons, Wakarusa 2010

I’ve had “Little Lion Man” playing on repeat in my car for two days. I am not ashamed of disclosing that. And this morning, that song, and maybe the nice and humid morning drive to work, reminded me of the Mumford & Sons set at Wakarusa 2010 (aka the best lineup that Wakarusa has and, most likely, will ever have). Man, the memory of that show still makes me so happy. I watched the show alone after shooting the first three songs. I made my way to the front row and then… bliss. That was a nice crowd, everyone was letting me go in front of them when seeing how I was struggling to see over their heads (I’m 5’2″). This is what I wrote about the set:

Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
The set began with “Sigh No More” and the crowd roared. It was the perfect set, balanced with beloved hits and new songs like “Bellow My Feet,” “Lover of the Light,” and “Lovers Eyes.” Bringing it to the grand closing with “The Cave.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one on cloud nine at that point. I’m still smiling. I’m positive this set brought the biggest crowd to the main stage. Mumford, Winston, Lovett, and Dwane, along with other supporting musicians, did an excellent job that day. The intimate lyrics and their love for their music made the Wakarusa stop an unforgettable show.

Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011
Mumford & Sons @ Wakarusa 2011

Wakarusa Pt. 3 (finally!)

I’ve made it clear that I am not a fan of lineup announcements break-downs. So, it is with great joy, that I present to you the final Wakarusa (Ozark, AR, June 5-8) lineup announcement. The other two headliners we were waiting for turned out to be The String Cheese Incident and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros (my inner hippie is already dancing, you know I love these guys). We also have some nice names down the list, like The Weeks and Black Joe Lewis. Here’s the 3rd installment for you:
Waka2014pt3

Here are the first and second announcements.