With the end of May comes Wakarusa Festival, running from May 31st to June 3rd in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. With that kind of scenery, the nature aspect is just as much a part of the festival experience as the music, and the two together is surely a powerful force. As a result, the lineup is a goldmine of world, roots, funk and psychedelic soul bands that you haven’t heard of yet, and even more variations on that theme.
One of the standout examples of some funky psychedelic soul is Monophonics. Many of their songs sound like straight up throwback tracks off fuzzy 45s. They pay their respects to the past, and also incorporate more modern hip hop edges on certain tracks, like this video for “Loose Nukes"
More on the folk side of the spectrum is Futurebirds. They play fun pop song melodies with a banjo added in for a good ol’ barn raisin’ time. They’re the kind of band you want to raise your beer to and shout along with.
Rubblebucket explores a darker, more experimental side of psychedelic funk, which they showcase well in their video for “Down in the Yards.” Nothing like hedonism in a muddy graveyard to get you in the mood.
San Francisco-based trio Beats Antique pull from old world influences for their own brand of electronic and world roots hybrid, especially Middle Eastern and Eastern European. They immerse audiences in music and culture, with a dedicated belly dancer to turn their live performances into vivid, primal performance art.
Tickets are available for one, two, and full three day rates, and of course there are camping packages. When you aren’t checking out music you can spend the days taking in the art installations, getting in some yoga time, and Friday night there’s a costume contest and parade. No doubt that is a spectacle.