Wichitans eager to camp in the shadow of the Keeper of the Plains will be able to do so – legally – this summer.
On Wednesday, Wichita Festivals announced what it hopes will be annual event, the Wichita Vortex Music Festival.
The festival, a nod to Allen Ginsberg’s noted 1966 poem, “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” will take place from Aug. 4 to 5 in the gated area between the Mid-America All-Indian Center and the Keeper of the Plains. It will also allow for people to camp out overnight safely near the Keeper.
Dwight Yoakam, noted bluegrass and country artist, will headline the festival. Yoakam was last in Wichita in 2014, when he opened for Eric Church at the Intrust Bank Arena. He also performed at the Orpheum in 2013.
The rest of the concert lineup will be alt-country/Americana-themed, complete with Pokey Lafarge, Lindi Ortega, and locals Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy, Moreland and Arbuckle and Cherokee Maidens.
Opening acts – every band on the lineup except Cherokee Maidens – start at 4 p.m. that Friday, followed by Yoakam’s performance. The festivities Friday night are expected to last until about midnight, at which time a movie will be screened in the festival area.
Admission to the festival includes access to local craft beers, a food truck rally, and glow-in-the-dark games – though you’ll have to purchase any food or drinks.
On Saturday morning, Wichita Festivals will serve an all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast. The Cherokee Maidens will perform from 9 to 11 a.m., and the festival is expected to conclude about noon Saturday.
Tickets are on sale at www.wichitavortexfest.com.
The main stage will be set up facing roughly southwest, so it should be possible to get the Keeper’s backside in your concert photos.
A limited number of campsites will be available on the grassy areas to the northeast of the pedestrian bridge to the Keeper, and those areas will be fenced in. Festival officials said they will start by offering 50 campsites, and if demand outpaces that supply, officials will attempt to find more campsites. Overnight security will be provided in the campgrounds.
There will be limited RV parking in the parking lot for the Keeper and portions of the Exploration Place parking lot.
Open flames, bonfires, grills and the like are discouraged in the campgrounds, according to Wichita Festivals.
There will be a second stage set up in the campground area, which will feature performances by local bands like Julian Davis & The Hay-Burners, Fast Food Junkies, Bailey Kate & The Running Late, and Urban Pioneers. There will also be an open-mic event on that stage.
The first 500 people to buy early-bird tickets will get them for $45. After those are sold, general-admission tickets will be $65 through July 27. After July 27, tickets increase in price to $85.
VIP passes that guarantee premium seating and bar access will be $100.
Then, to camp at the festival, it’s going to cost an additional $50. That includes a campsite for up to four people and tickets to the breakfast Saturday morning.
Tickets to the Saturday morning breakfast and entertainment are available for $15 if camping is not in your plans.
Though this year’s Wichita Vortex Music Festival is heavily alt-country/bluegrass/Americana-themed, festival officials say the genre of music will likely rotate from year to year.
The festival, a new event by Wichita Festivals – best known for Riverfest and Autumn & Art – is sponsored by the Coleman Co. and House of Schwan.