Noon. Mulberry Mountain. $109-$194.
This is year No. 4 that the music and camping extravaganza known as Wakarusa has been hosted up on Mulberry Mountain, just outside Ozark (the festival started in 2004 outside Lawrence, Kan., but moseyed south a bit in 2009). The four-day festival has always generally favored the extended noodlings of scores of jam bands, but like some of the headliners in years past (Wilco, Flaming Lips, Black Keys, My Morning Jacket) some of this year's marquee acts fall more toward the indie rock side of things.
The 2012 lineup is heavy on the digital end of the jam spectrum, with DJ/producer Pretty Lights, mashup maestro Girl Talk, the glammed-out electro rock of Ghostland Observatory, the glitchy dub-trance of EOTO, and lots more rave-y thumping. But there is also no shortage of good ol' fashioned folk, blues, country, rock, neo-soul, reggae, bluegrass, impossible-to-categorize weirdoes and more.
Some of the headlining acts this year are the Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio (that'd be Bob Weir, Chris Robinson and Jackie Green), Primus, Slightly Stoopid, The Avett Brothers, Umphrey's McGee, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Fitz & The Tantrums. There'll also be many Waka veterans: Matisyahu, Perpetual Groove, Keller Williams, Railroad Earth, Tea Leaf Green, Split Lip Rayfield, Animal Liberation Orchestra and, well actually there are just way, way too many more to list.
Personally, I have a strong suspicion/hope that many, um, herbally loosened minds will be blown away by Malian Tuareg group Tinariwen, whose desert blues are some of the most hypnotic, haunting and gorgeous guitar music ever made. Surely they'll get the "who-came-from-farthest-away" award.
Point of Arkansas Times pride: The excellent Little Rock four-piece and 2012 Times Musicians Showcase finalist War Chief is kicking off the whole shebang, with a set at noon on Thursday.
Also, just as a side note and presented with no commentary whatsoever, I must point out some of the band names I wasn't familiar with that jumped out at me while I was perusing the Wakarusa schedule: Dank Sinatra, Dangermuffin, Lance Herbstrong, Papadosio, SunSquabi, Dumptruck Butterlips.