Wakarusa organizers confirm festival will not return in 2016

Wakarusa Music Festival organizers have confirmed our report from last week that the festival will take next year off.

In a revealing announcement, organizers Pipeline Productions point to “unsavory” partners as the primary reason for the hiatus, noting legal action is being pursued.

“Further, we have found that the universe is often much more effective in dealing with these perpetrators than the legal system,” they added.

Pipeline was forced cancelled their two other festivals earlier this year: 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.

Organizers vow to eventually bring the festival back to Mulberry Mountain and ask fans to share their positive energy.

“We know the world is a better place when there is more music and more love.”

See the full announcement text below:

It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that Wakarusa will take 2016 off.

Wakarusa has been a labor of love for all of us these last twelve years. We have been defiantly independent and unique since our inception. Together we created a magical 5 day event that stood out from the rest. We’ve taken great pride in what we’ve created with you and for you over the last decade plus. The Waka community (friends, family, fans, musicians, artists, performers, volunteers, staff) has really been the heart and soul of what Wakarusa IS. This community shares a natural passion for what is truly genuine. Wakarusa is wonderfully original – it is organic, mystical and always marvelously weird, and like Wakarusa, you too are decidedly different and perfectly magnificent.

As such, you deserve to know the principal reason behind our hiatus:

Wakarusa was significantly damaged by partners claiming to share our vision. Sadly, they lied. They are being dealt with appropriately through the legal system. Further, we have found that the universe is often much more effective in dealing with these perpetrators than the legal system. Regardless, it is our sincere hope and anticipation that what we have built together – we will once again enjoy on our beloved and magical mountain.

For now, we shall dust ourselves off. We must take time to recharge our faith and our energy. Passionate people do not throw in the towel because of a bump in the road. We look brightly toward the future. We will bring more music and more art and many more wickedly unrivaled memories. We know the world is a better place when there is more music and more love.

Our scrape with the unsavory has lead us to realize what is most important to us, which is all of YOU (you and you…and you too). So in our brief absence, please stay in touch and look out for each other. Take special care to really nurture what is most important in each of your lives. There is simply too much to be down or discouraged about in this world. Be the beacon of joy and hope – we need more of that in this world. So now we do ask that you share your positive energy with us. We’ll use it as our strength and inspiration to create an even better WAKA experience that is ever more magical. With your help, we will bring Wakarusa back to Mulberry Mountain.

Until then, be safe, spread your positivity and your light and remember to always remain marvelously weird!

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.


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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.