This weekend in Northwest Arkansas many genres of bands will collide on Mulberry Mountain for the 11th annual Wakarusa Music Festival. As the “2014 Summer Music Festival Season” ramps up into full gear, The Pier will be out there catching the stacked Reggae-Rock line-up a long with some Jam-Band staples.
Throughout the four days from June 5th-8th, all 99 bands or so will appear on the 2014 Wakarusa bill, including multiple sets from headliners The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee and STS9, as well as sets from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Bassnectar, and The Flaming Lips.
Over the past few years, as more Reggae-Rock bands pop up on the scene, gaining larger followings, the demand developed by fans of this genre cannot be ignored. Sets from Reggae-Rock acts have been slowly seeping into festival line-ups all over the US, but as far as major summer festivals go, Wakarusa seems to always book more of these bands then other festivals.
Once again Wakarusa festival organizers did not disappoint, as 2014’s line-up features an excellent sampling of Reggae-Rock-roots-acoustic acts. The weekend will include the return of The Green along with sets from Michael Franti & Spearhead, John Butler Trio, Xavier Rudd, Iration, Mike Love, Fortunate Youth, Indubious, Wookiefoot and multiple sets from Wheeland Brothers as well as Nahko & Medicine for the People.
Kicking off at 8am on Thursday June 5th, following a bit of Yoga, the day is packed with 22 acts before Nahko & Medicine for the People play what is sure to be an inspirational evening set at 5:30 in the “Revival Tent.” Later that evening, filling the prime-time slot on the main stage, the positive vibes will continue to flow with an 8:15 set from Michael Franti & Spearhead. Coincidently Nahko and Franti have just released a collaborative single with SOJA titled, “Believe.”
After a rockin’ set from Moon Taxi and a colorful set from STS9 Wookiefoot will kick off the late-night shows with their Reggae infused Psychedelic Jams.
On Friday we are set to see a ton of Funk on the “Budweiser Main Stage,” including festival favorites Orgone and Lettuce. Like Thursday, Friday is scheduled with a packed line up of act after act after act and once again, the evening will include sets from Nahko and STS9!
At 10pm the night starts to get truly weird with a 2-hour spectacle from The Flaming Lips on the main stage, followed by a 2-hour set from the String Cheese Incident, a rare tent sent that is sure to have a jam-packed crowd. Known for their Incidences around the country, the Colorado 6-piece is currently supporting their first studio album in nine years, “Song In My Head.”
Halfway through SCIm the set coincides with a special Infected Mushroom FUNGUSAMONGUS set. Playing into the hours of the late night, the Israeli-born, LA-based electronic duo delivers a sound known as “Psychedelic Trance,” one that fuses in all sorts of music including a bit of Reggae.
On Saturday at 3pm, one act we really want to see plays the main stage is Australia’s Xavier Rudd, who has played the festival circuit for a while now. Known for his unique fusion of Folk-Rock, Reggae, Roots and World music, Rudd uses his multi-instrumental skills to incorporate didgeridoos, guitar, and precision into his live shows.
Later that afternoon, over on the “Grassroots California Outpost Tent”, the day gets funky with another hour from Orgone, plus sets from the Silverback managed band, The Pimps of Joytime, followed by everyone’s new favorite band The Revivalists.
Over on the “Woodchuck Hard Cider Backwoods Stage” at 6pm, southern California’s Wheeland Brothers will bring those influential SoCal sounds down the to the woods of Arkansas.
Saturday closes with a monumental night of Jam-Rock, including a 2-hour second set from the String Cheese Incident on the main stage. Directly after will be a set from the talented Umphrey’s McGee in the “Technaflora Revival Tent.” These festival circuit veterans are promoting their 8th studio record, the forthcoming Similar Skin set to drop days after Wakarusa ends on June 10th. The night continues with Bassnectar on the main stage and then Papdosio back on the “Technaflora Revival Tent.”
Sunday Morning starts off with an 11am Drum Circle, followed by the jams of Kung Fu. The day really gets dubbed-out with a full day of Reggae-Rock music on the Technaflora Revival Tent. The Wheeland Brothers play their second set of the weekend, followed by sets from Indubious, Fortunate Youth, Mike Love, The Green, Iration, and John Butler Trio.
JBT is playing the festival circuit hard this year and always deliver a great show. Mike Love is another act The Pier is very excited to see, as Mike has just released his new album. Fortunate Youth, The Green & Iration have all developed into top tier Reggae-Rock acts over the last 5 years & could each headline their own night. Be sure to catch the great vibes that pour off the stage from any of these Reggae acts.
Sunday also includes a set from Eoto, the percussive side project of SCI. Following is another set from Umphrey’s McGee on the main stage before the fest closes with 12am sets from The Flooies on “Theuntz.Com Satellite Stage” and a set that lasts till 2am Monday morning from Claude VonStroke on the main stage.
Rain or shine this, with all this amazing talent and the beautiful atmosphere atop the mountain, this year’s Wakarusa Music Festival is sure to be an unforgettable experience. For more on the Wakarusa Music Festival, or details about any of the artists attending, please check out the information below.
WATCH: The Pier’s preview video for Wakarusa 2014
More pictures from Wakarusa 2013: