New music festival to invade Lawrence

Organizers hope to attract 30,000 at three-day event

It starts with a "W" and is expected to draw thousands of music fans.

No, Woodstock is not being resurrected this year. Instead it is the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival that promises to be the area's most large-scale concert gathering of the summer.

Organizers announced Monday that the inaugural Wakarusa fest will be held June 18-20 at Clinton Lake State Park.

  • Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2004June 18 thru 20
  • more info

"We're equipped to make a high-level-of-comfort weekend for 30,000 people," said John Brooks, one of the festival's organizers.

Brooks - who has a laundry list of experience that includes Lawrence's Sunflower and Jayhawk fests and KC's Spirit Fest - has partnered with Bottleneck owner Brett Mosiman to mount the massive event.

The idea cropped up about a year ago when they were surveying the area.

"There's this big footprint that appeared that makes it look like Mother Nature came down and made us a little place," Brooks said of the setting. "It's got a grassroots feel. It doesn't have a city feel. You're only five miles from town but it feels like 100."

Brooks believed the camping aspect of the weekend event is what will set it apart from other such festivals.

"The camping IS the experience," Brooks said. "We've put two days of huge talent together and made it accessible to the camping areas at Clinton Lake. That way there is no feeling of letdown that people will have to go home each evening."

Artists scheduled to appear at Wakarusa 2004 include: Robert Randolph and the Family Band, The Donnas, The North Mississippi Allstars, Galactic, Leftover Salmon, The Jazz Mandolin Project, Soundtribe Sector 9, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Derek Trucks Band, Reverend Horton Heat, Indigenous, The Wailers, The Samples, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Drive By Truckers, Particle, Split Lip Rayfield, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, BR549, Donna the Buffalo, Hackensaw Boys, Ekoostik Hookah, The Greyhounds, Lost Trailers, The Bottlerockets, Slobberbone, Mofro, Hairy Apes BMX, Papa Mali, Tea Leaf Green, The Big Wu, Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, Shanti Groove, Drums & Tuba, Robbie Fulks, Chris Duarte, James McMurtry, Weary Brothers, Monte Montgomery, Motet, The Schwag and O.A.R.

Asked to name some of the acts he is most looking forward to seeing, Brooks replied, "Robert Randolph has a big following, and he's a family guy and he's known for that. Galactic is a big stage show, New Orleans-style. We've got some local favorites in BR549. We just introduced O.A.R. to the program today. I'm looking at 50 of them right now. It's intense."

Early-bird tickets go on sale March 12 and will be available until March 28 for $65.00. For more information go to


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