Just days before the 10th annual Wakarusa music festival kicks off, volunteers and staff are busy preparing for thousands of people.
“This is our tenth anniversary and we’re very proud of that,” Brett Mosiman, Wakarusa director, said. “A lot of people thought when we moved to Arkansas we wouldn’t make it ten years and we found a great home here in Northwest Arkansas. We love Mulberry Mountain.”
An estimated 25,000 people are making their way to Franklin County this week for the music festival, Mosiman said.
About a 150 acts, including headliners Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg), The Black Crowes, Dispatch and Widespread Panic will perform through the weekend.
“I’m really excited,” Dan Markle, a Wakarusa volunteer, said. “It’s such a beautiful place. I didn’t really know what to expect but immediately it just feels so welcoming. I can’t wait for it to get going.”
With the festival, the population of Franklin County more than doubles, meaning a significant increase in business for those in the area.
“I think we’re kind of Christmas in May and June for everybody around here,” Mosiman said. “We fill up the hotels and everybody gets their provisions and so it’s a great thing I think.”
Compared to a normal weekend this time of year, Turner Bend Owner Brad Wimberly said business triples, maybe even quadruples, when Wakarusa is in town.
“It goes way up,” Wimberly said. “It’s a huge difference. Even though there’s lots of competition, if you bring that many people in we will definitely have an increase in business.”
Concert-goers can start setting up camp on the Mulberry Mountain Wednesday afternoon. Music will get going Thursday. The festival will last through Sunday.
After Wakarusa wraps up, organizers will be busy preparing for round two as Thunder on the Mountain is lined up for next weekend at the same location.