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Tuesday, June 5

Wakarusa 2012 - Saturday - Awards / Photos / Summary

 Saturday brought more sporadic thunders storms to the party atop the glorious Mulberry Mountain. This did very little to damper the mood, as most were prepared for Mother Nature. It is all a part of the experience that is Wakarusa. Saturday also delivered another full day and night of music from almost every genre. The line-up is as impressive as it is diverse. If I could relive my day and pick completely different bands, I am convinced I would have had an equally satisfying day.  It is truly a special festival; it manages to capture the freedom I have not felt since Grateful Dead tour. Instead of witnessing people fighting or getting arrested, all I saw was laughter and dancing. It was truly beautiful.  
So now without further ado here are Grateful Music's Saturday Awards:

The Blues Lives Again Award: goes to Gary Clark Jr. This astonishing picker is a cross between Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters. I do not throw those names around lightly, go see this man.
The Best Acoustic Number that was not a Doc Watson Song Award: goes to Bill Nershi of Emmit-Nershi Band for their rendition of String Cheese’s classic “Johnny Cash”. Billy put his stamp on this nugget with some insane guitar work. 
The N.B.A Fan Of The Festival: goes to Ryan Stasik of Umphrey’s McGee for his Thunder jersey he wore while dropping bass bombs all night. He is one sexy man. 
The When You Play with Fire You Might Entertain Me Award: goes to this fearless fan. She managed to entertain us all with FIRE…FIRE….FIRE.
Best Acoustic Super Group Award: goes to The Travelin’ Mccourys featuring Keller Williams. This was by far my favorite band I have seen K-Dub in, including The Keller Incident. The impressive blue-grass was a perfect landscape for Keller to paint an historic performance. 
The 2nd Best Acoustic Super Group Award: goes to Emmit-Nershi Band. These two front men are better than chocolate and peanut butter when put together. They bleed blue-grass and it showed in their set. They later joined Del McCoury for a tribute to Doc.Watson. One of many moments I regret missing from this festival. 
My K-Dub Award: goes to Keller Williams; because he is so bad ass he gets his own award. 
The Best Guitar Solo Award: goes to Brenden Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee. He was on fire during U.M’s main stage performance. His work during The Talking Heads song “Girlfriend is better” melted several faces.
The Scariest Fan Award: easily goes to this human eating octopus. The creature feasted on flesh, or maybe it was just my hallucination caught on film. 
The Best Bass Bombs Award: goes to Les Claypool of Primus. Whether he was a monkey or a man he shook the mountain continually for two hours.
My King of the Festival Award: goes to Umphrey’s McGee. With two power house performances they have cemented themselves as my second favorite band touring today. They flat- out entertain!! 
Until then, Samba in the rain.....  
The Grateful Music team really wants to thank Wakarusa for putting together the Festival of which all other Festivals will be measured by.  From the scenic vistas atop Mulberry Mountain and comfortably spread out venue to the intimate vibe and party-centric shenanigans. Wakarusa 2012 outdid themselves.  The lineup was over-the-top while the fans were the KINDEST kind. If not for a little rain it was all but perfect.  Gracias!

Words: Kevin Long
Photos: Dustin Brown&Ellis Jones
 © Phish and The Dead - a Grateful Music Publication