Wakarusa’s future uncertain amidst setbacks for festival producer

Wakarusa Music Festival may not return in 2016 according to a source at Mulberry Mountain Lodge, the festival’s home near Ozark, Ark.

When asked via phone whether the event would be held next June, a venue employee said, “I don’t know for sure but it’s possible they’re going to take off a year.”

A spokesperson from Wakarusa producer Pipeline Productions declined to answer the same question but said an announcement would be released soon.

The festival’s website has not been updated since June and its Facebook page went silent in early November. Dates for the four-day music and camping event have in past years been revealed as early as August with lineup announcements following in January.

Pipeline experienced a number of setbacks in 2015. Most significant were the cancellations of its two other festivals at Mulberry Mountain: Thunder on the Mountain, a country music festival scheduled for late June, and Harvest Music Festival, which had just merged with Phases of the Moon Music and Art Festival. A key road closure due to weather damage near the festival site also created challenges for travel to and from Wakarusa.

Fans on the Wakarusa Reddit page claim ticket refunds for those cancelled festivals continue to go unpaid.

Wakarusa was first held in Lawrence, Kan. in 2004 before moving to Mulberry Mountain in 2009. The festival is known for its combination of music and mother nature and showcases a variety of musical genres, including jam, electronic, indie, hip hop, and more.

Pipeline is one of the few remaining independent promoters in the music festival world. The group is also involved with the Bottleneck and the Granada venues in Lawrence, Kan., and CrossroadsKC in Kansas City.

Founder Brett Mosiman said in a 2014 interview that Wakarusa has always been about the community of people who attend as much as it is music.

“We’re quoted often as being ‘the little engine that could’ — we’re the festival by music fans for music fans and we mean it,” he said.


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Kent Otto

Kent is founder and editor-in-chief. He's always had a love and passion for music of all types, but didn't discover the music festival scene and community until moving to Southern California during his early post-college years. He returned to his roots in the Midwest in 2011 and has since been determined to share the magic and beauty of the music scene with as many as possible. Email kent@edmcalendar.com.