Alright folks, Wakarusa is in full swing and it’s time to talk schedules. The “grassroots festival nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where the beauty of nature synchronizes with the euphoric sounds of live music” has already been raging for a full day, and with a full weekend ahead of jam bands, electronic artists, and damn near everything in between, there’s plenty to feel overwhelmed. Here to help you avoid “line-up overload syndrome” is a compendium for the roster’s best.
Let’s go ahead and get the headliners out-of-the-way. These kids didn’t get to the top of the bill on good looks alone (well, maybe Primus), so lets talk about the biggest bands coming through.
As mentioned, Primus will be playing Waka Saturday at the main stage (11:00pm). Also on the main stage on Saturday, Umphrey’s McGee (8:30pm) and Big Gigantic (1am). Friday’s main stage attractions include Avett Brothers (10:15pm) and Girl Talk (1am). Also on Friday’s main stage, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (8:15pm) will not be attempting to go home (eh, eh?), as they are set to play; giving every hipster who likes music on NFL.com tickets commercials something to sing along to.
Now that the big names are out-of-the-way, Let’s talk about some great acts well worth seeing.
Friday features Lyrics Born (5:45/Satellite Stage), Railroad Earth (10:30am/Revival Tent) Ghostland Observatory (2:30am/Revival Tent), Heartless Bastards (7:45/George’s Majestic Backwoods), and Tribal Seeds (1am/George’s Majestic Backwoods).
Friday’s got a solid line-up but I think the one to catch will be Rubble Bucket (5:30/Kum & Go Outpost). I was introduced to them by a friend a few months ago as “what cartoons would sound like if they were songs.”
While that summation is up for argument, I became familiar with what Rubble Bucket actually is: awesome as shit. They’ve got inventive phrase lengths, playful song arrangements, creative instrumentation, and playful musicianship all wrapped up in an accessible pop package damn near impossible to pass up. Don’t sleep on these guys.
Saturday keeps up the weekend’s steam with Lumineers (4:20pm/ George’s Majestic Backwoods), Gramatik (6:45pm Satellite Stage), Quixotic (12:30/Revival Tent), Beats Antique (2:15/Revival Tent), Paper Diamond (2:30am/Kum and Go Outpost), RJD2 (3:30/Satellite Stage), Bright Light Social Hour (6:00/George’s Majestic Backwoods) and more.
Saturday has some heavy hitters for sure, but I’m most looking forward to sophisticated dj act Virtual Boy. Virtual boy is known for mixing classical music theory with modern-day electronic production.
This year has marked the release of their first full length on Alpha Pup Records, a self titled exploration into the space between introspection and crunk that could be ballparked somewhere in the middle of Boards of Canada and Nosaj Thing. They bring a great vibe and have some worthwhile drops so are definitely worth checking out!
Sunday has a slew of great talent. Toubab Krewe (1:15 Revival Tent), Agori Tribe (1pm/George’s Majestic Backwoods), Matisyahu (10pm/Revival Tent), EOTO (11pm/Kum & Go Outpost), dirty guv’nahs (7:30 Kum & Go Outpost), and adventure club (6:15pm/Satellite Stage) are all featured.
Without reference to Sunday alone, Daedelus ( is the must see for Wakarusa. The man is an intellectually bent electronic artist who was not content coloring inside the lines of traditional kick/snare combo’s (He’s also of damn fine fashion sensibility).
More or less an underground legend of the beat scene, Daedelus has been publishing music for over 11 years and has released 12 albums and even more EPs. The guy’s appeared on iconic electronic labels Stones Throw, Ninja Tune, Brainfeeder, Warp, Alpha Pup, the now defunct Merck Records, and many more. Mad genius on stage, this is a MUST for anyone who says they care about where the world of abstract beats today.
And breathe! We hoped this proved helpful in identifying some shows you won’t want to miss. And remember— although this little tour through the festival to come picks up on some great heat, the act list is extensive so we encourage you to explore the roster. We’ll be hanging out at the intersection of nature’s beauty and live music euphoria, come say hey!