While the people camped out across the mountain in the vast tent city woke up to a mucky mess, the folks in the media camp site had more to worry about than just the mud. A local black bear roamed into camp and tried to take with her a cooler full of ice cold hot dogs. "I turned around and her head was in the back of my car," said one festival-goer, "and I was like, 'Uhh...SHIT!'"
Aside from a few morning showers and a flooded bag of reefer here and there, Friday was aiming to be a good day. The sun even decided to come out for a brief period of time in the afternoon. The patrons were more than ready to get out and party after the dull day prior, and for the most part they managed to accomplish this feat. But as the day progressed, word began to spread along Shakedown Street that there was one final severe storm inbound due to hit in the evening. This one was supposed to be worse than Wednesday night, and in a land without cell phones or internet, it was hard to guess what really was going to happen.
One place that was particularly good about escaping the bad storm vibes was the Grassroots California Satellite stage over on the far eastern side of the grounds. A gentle slope downward into open forest revealed a modestly sized stage with a colorful canvas roofing of slim, geometrically shaped designs that breathed in and out with the breeze.
This venue was the place to go for everything electronic: from house to dubstep to experimental, the Satellite Stage was a great place to chill -- complete with a beautiful shrine to nature enclosed in a small area surrounded by tree branch fences that some simply referred to as "Church." The pleasantly organized moss-covered rocks and branches that were placed together with much care made for a wonderful place to meditate or to contemplate -- and in some cases potentially procreate.
One of the up and coming artists to perform Friday afternoon at the Satellite Stage was Eitch (pronounced "H" phonetically). Born and raised a New York girl and now living in San Francisco, Eitch began producing and programing original electronic music back in high school in her mother's basement eight years ago, and has been performing under the name Eitch for the past two and a half years. Fun, introspective lyrics of "cosmic reflection" accented by the poppy sounds of electronic beeps and boops and a powerful performance energized the forest during her second appearance at Wakarusa.
Good music was finally being fed to the ears of the wet and wound-up masses.
Everybody's favorite Of Monsters and Men played a goose bump-inducing set to a very full Revival Tent as they all took their places on stage and humbly played their hits. MUTEMATH, an alternative-rock band hailing from New Orleans, played an incredible show at the Technaflora Outpost. At one point, frontman Paul Meany blew the minds of the audience with an intense solo with what can only be categorized as a washboard made out of effects pedals. Ozomatli brought the brass and the funk to the Revival Tent for an energetic jam that had everyone within range moving their feet. Wakarusa was bumping and the party was on.
But as the night reached the witching hour, an announcement was made over PA system that echoed through the mountain, "I'm sorry to bring this news, but we have more severe weather headed this way and we have to ask everyone to evacuate the grounds and take shelter in your cars immediately." The news was a bummer for many, as the highly anticipated psychedelic Shpongle show would be canceled. Then again, to be caught out in the open surrounded by lightning-rod stages would be suicide. The crowd sardined their way out through the narrow exit points and waited to greet the storm at their campsites, blind stoned with whiskey breath.
Suddenly, a cool breeze swept through the mountain side, dropping the temperature at an alarming rate from comfortable to bone chilling. And with that drop in pressure, a roaring sound could be heard deep within the forest. While faint at first, the wall of water charged through the landscape like a locomotive, growing closer and closer. A collective Braveheart yell was belted out by the 45,000 folks bracing for impact as the roar of the rain became deafening. And then, like a light switch, wind and rain enveloped everything.
All photos by Mike Gualdoni. Stay tuned for more coverage of Wakarusa 2013.