A screenshot of the video shows Roger Burau speaking into a microphone at What Fest.
YouTube video

There’s a big plateau that juts out of the landscape just north of Saratoga, Wyoming. It’s called Sheep’s Head because, as the story goes, cattlemen competing for grazing space would herd sheep over the cliff’s edge. I have no idea if that’s true, but I heard it from Roger Burau, and he’s nice enough to make you want to believe anything. He’s actual living proof that people still bet on other people to do the right thing.

Roger lives just north of Saratoga and, for one weekend every summer, he and his family open the doors of their ranch to host the long-running What Festival

It’s a bit of a shocking twist on the music festival scene: a land owner donating his land and his time to something that could — for lack of a better phrase — totally go Woodstock ‘99 on him. It’s a generous act that’s not expected and probably shouldn’t be. Roger isn’t what you’d expect either though. He says he simply wants to see people happy. He even takes care of the burial plots of the former landowners and their relatives.

For the What Fest a flat spot to put a stage isn’t enough. He lets hundreds of people park and camp on his land and swim in the tributary of the Platte that runs through it. This year there were three stages with over thirty acts and all the food, beer, and supplies to support the crowd.

If you’re hunting for something to do next summer, just look up What Fest. It looks like things went well enough this year that Roger will kick open the gate to his place again.

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