Let me just be honest for a second, going into this I had no clue what to expect. This is my first Waka and honestly, I was nervous. Festivals carry so many stigmas whether that is Bonnaroo, Coachella, whatever festival – they all have a similar stigma. The festival scene really isn’t my world. I love the music but 4 days with no shower and camping in all that heat – I’m secretly a 500lb man on the inside – I need my AC. So pulling up, I had no idea what to expect.

I’m here to put the questions to rest (with photo proof). No, it’s not a land full of crazies that will scare your children. Easily said, everyone was nice and friendly. The staff and volunteer teams were very helpful. We had stopped and talked to several people about camera gear – because we’re nerds, and much to my surprise everyone we met was so enjoyable to be around. No, it’s not a land full of people doing drugs and other unspeakable things. This cracks me up. Everyone always told me that Waka is nothing but druggies and people The Duggars would shame on national television. To the parents who were reluctant to let their kids go – just like anything in life, If they seek it, they will find it. Ok is that real enough?!?

Since that’s out of the way and hopefully I’ve put your mind to rest, on to the fun stuff! We legitimatly had a lot of fun. There was lots to do, food to eat, and people to meet. They had some really cool installations ranging from graffiti art, aerial silks, free drawing and painting. There was even the opportunity to fly in a helicopter over the festival, I think we will try and do that today. The food options were very surprising. I wasn’t sure what to think initially, but walking in we saw tons of organic options and fresh fruits with everything being made to order. The grounds themselves were not actually muddy. We’ve had a ton of rain here in Arkansas and I was expecting the entire grounds to be nasty and muddy. Some parts were still muddy, but overall it had all dried up.

Before we get to the music, here are some shots from our perspective of Walking into Wakarusa for the first time…

Photo by © Shane Gray Photo by © Shane Gray Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri

We were a bit strategic when choosing what bands to cover. Most of us had some priorities, but for the most part we picked our favorites and went! Our three for last night were Chance the Rapper, HONEYHONEY, and STS9.

CHANCE THE RAPPER was up first on MainStage. He was the opening act for the evening. Chance Bennet is a 22 year old American Hip Hop Artist. His new album Surf is now available for download on iTunes.

Once Chance was wrapping up we headed over to the Revival Tent to see HONEYHONEY.

HONEYHONEY is an American Folk band from LA. I usually don’t care for folk music, but when we saw they were playing we decided to check them out. I couldn’t stop listening. There is a pop thread within their music. I didn’t know I could like Folk as much as I did coming from them.

Photo by © Shane Gray Photo by © Shane Gray

After HONEYHONEY we headed back to the mainstage for one of my favorite live bands – STS9.

SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9 or STS9 is an instrumental band that blends rock and electronic to produce some killer tones. It’s one of those bands that their tracks don’t do them justice. You have to see them live.

We decided to end the night early so we have plenty of energy for Saturday. If there is something you’d like to see, snap me or tweet me and we’ll be sure to get a shot of it! SNAPCHAT, masonkesner.