1.06.2014

I Didn't Ask for Your Life Story: Voodoo Music+Arts Experience 2013


(Written November 2013)

*Note- I'm going to title all of my music festival posts with stupid inside jokes.  Because I'm annoying.

Although I am incredibly Bonnaroo loyal, I've been a little curious about other festivals, particularly "urban" festivals, ones that take place in the middle of a city, as opposed to the middle of fucking nowhere, like 'Roo.  What are the logistics?  What's the vibe like?  Is having a bed, shower and toilet to return to every night all it's cracked up to be?

I decided to satisfy my curiosity and go to Voodoo Experience in New Orleans earlier this month.  The main reason I chose this fest is because my friend Sam said "Hey! We should go to this fest!" But it turned out to be a good choice because it is WAY cheaper than say, Lollapalooza.  Nola is a really affordable city, and we further cut costs by finding lodging through Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel and taking the streetcars as often as we could instead of hiring cabs.

We arrived in New Orleans the day before the festival, which happened to be Halloween.  Halloween in Nola is total shitshow, as you'd probably expect- loads of debaucherous people in costumes flooding Bourbon and Frenchman St, actin' a fool. It was absolutely miserably rainy, but that didn't dampen the party spirit.  We dressed up and went out for a bit, but the rain, combined with an incredibly long day of travel, and not wanting to be too tired to rage the first day of Voodoo meant we called it an early-ish night.

Me and my Voodoo Partner-in-Crime

Voodoo takes place on the festival grounds of the city park of New Orleans, which is sprawling and absolutely beautiful.  This year there were four stages which were (sort of) split up by genre (the main stage for headliners/larger acts, and stages for EDM, rock acts and local/jazz/soul/folk music).  The relatively small size of the grounds, combined with the small number of stages, made for a pretty relaxing experience compared to Bonnaroo, where you're rushing between at least 8 different stages and tents that are somewhat spread out.  But it also made for really shitty sound bleed, which particularly affected acts on the small Carnival and Flambeau stages who played at the same time as headliners and/or EDM acts.

...which was a shame because some of my favorite performances of the weekend took place on these smaller stages.  Flow Tribe, a band local to New Orleans, played the first day of the festival and I swear I've never danced so hard or enthusiastically in my life!  (Before this show, I'd also never seen a dude, dressed like a nun, lift up his habit to reveal holographic skivvies and start twerking, either.  But there's a first time for everything.)  Allen Stone, Moon Taxi and Reignwolf also played on the small stages, and were equally as awesome (except they didn't twerk- could have used more twerking...).

Reignwolf killing it.

Did I mention I met this guy?! (Allen Stone, for the sadly ignorant)


The other performances I loved were Rudimental, Matt and Kim (I cant believe I've passed up so many opportunities to see them!) and Nine Inch Nails, surprisingly.  I didn't think I was a NIN fan.  I scoffed when a festival buddy of mine said he's seen them live 10 times.  Well, I ate crow, because they were AMAZING, and I look forward to seeing them again.

Trent Reznor, my old man crush.

One of the coolest things about Voodoo is that there are a ton of after-shows you can attend if you're not completely exhausted by days end.  We went to shows at the Howlin' Wolf two nights in a row.  They were kind of pricey at $20 a pop, but totally worth it, as we spent two nights dancing our asses off to funk bands.

All-in-all, Voodoo was a great weekend.  I've been in love with New Orleans for as long as I can remember, and this festival is another thing on a very long list of reasons why.   Basically, anything you do in Nola is going to be a fun, memorable experience.  The people are so welcoming, and always ready to have a good time.

...but did I prefer it to Bonnaroo?  No.  It was fun being able to explore the city and showering daily was nice, but Bonnaroo is just special.  Refer to my last post.

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