The 10th annual Wakarusa Music Festival boasts about 130 confirmed acts appearing on five stages over four days at Mulberry Mountain, north of Ozark. On Friday, your best bets for great live music includes ZZ Ward, Of Monsters and Men and and Dispatch.
Programming note: In assembling these daily lists, attention was paid to performance times, though a quick-turnaround might be required to travel between stages.
72C on FRIDAY (May 31):
• Delta Rae (Main Stage – 1 to 1:45 p.m.)
Grab some lunch and start today’s musical journey with the beautiful harmonies of Delta Rae. Three of the group’s six members are brothers and sister – Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes – plus the addition of singer Elizabeth Hopkins, drummer Mike McKee and bassist Grant Emerson. Their music and lyrics blend distinct roots in storytelling and folklore with the sounds of Americana, gospel, blues, bluegrass and pop. Their song “Dance in the Graveyards” was featured earlier this month on “The Vampire Diaries” season finale, and “Bottom of the River” is featured in the trailer for the sixth season of “True Blood.”
• Allen Stone (Main Stage – 3:45 to 5 p.m.)
Stay put at the Main Stage for the next act, Allen Stone, who hails from the small town of Chewelah, Wash. Yet, somehow, the blond, bespectacled, 25-year-old has vocals and a soulful sound that make you think of Stevie Wonder, plus socially conscious lyrics like those of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye. USA Today has called him a “pitch-perfect powerhouse.” A preacher’s kid, raised on gospel music, Stone simply calls himself a “hippie with soul.” This show is not to be missed.
• Of Monsters and Men (Revival Tent – 5 to 6:15 p.m.)
Over at the Revival Tent, this show by Of Monsters and Men should be fantastic. This six-member group hails all the way from Iceland, where their career started after they won a battle of the bands competition. Their sound is so unique, so different. Their lyrics are rooted both in real events and in lore and myth. Lead singers are Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar “Raggi” Thorhallsson, and the group mixes guitars, drums, bass, piano and accordion.
• Son Volt (Revival Tent – 6:45 to 8 p.m.)
Keep your spot at the Revival Tent for the next band. It’s a second incarnation for Jay Farrar, who spearheaded the alt-country movement of the 1990s with his band Uncle Tupelo. With Son Volt, Farrar and the rest of the band offer an interesting blend of Americana, rock and country. Note: Wrap things up early here and then scoot over to the Backwoods stage for ZZ Ward.
• ZZ Ward (George’s Majestic Backwoods Stage – 7:45 to 8:45 p.m.)
ZZ Ward is new on the music scene, but she’s been making music since she was a 13-year-old in her father’s blues band. Now in her mid-20s, she emerged last year with the release of a mixtape, an EP record and her full-length debut album, “Til the Casket Drops.” Her lyrics have attitude and her voice is amazing – strong and raspy – as she mixes blues and hip-hop influences for her own sound. (Link here to read the interview with Ward.)
• Dispatch (Main Stage – 10:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.)
You’re lucky to see Dispatch, so take this chance. Band members How Corrigan, Chad Stokes and Pete Francis met while in college in Vermont in the early 1990s, formed a band and became a big draw on the live music scene. The independent rock band broke up in 2004, but have since reunited. They’re known for storytelling lyrics, tight harmonies, and rollicking grooves. Scoot back over to the Revival Tent for the final pick for the night.
• STS9 (Revival Tent – 12:15 to 2 a.m.)
Even if you’re a bit late arriving at the Revival Tent, there’s no better way to round out your night than to spend some time with this Atlanta-based band. The instrumental electronic rock band isn’t hiding under the gloss of the technology. Their sounds and rhythms are fantastic, and the electronic experience only magnifies that.