Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is something like you’ve never been to before. Since 1999 has brought over 2,000 artists to the city of New Orleans including Ozzy Osbourne, The Foo Fighters, and Snoop Dogg. This year the headliners were The Weeknd, Die Antwood, Tool, and The Chainsmokers. Not only does this festival offer incredible music, it also has one of the best food truck setups, incredible art, and even a built0in cemetery with zombie actors and a haunted house. If you’re one of those people that live for Halloween and you haven’t done this yet, start looking at tickets for next year.
Day one was an incredible kick-off. I made it to the festival just in time to catch Cheat Codes, an artist featured on the Top 5 Hidden Gems list. These guys are one to keep an eye on over the next few months, not only are they producing incredible music, but they do really well live. I then was able to catch MUTEMATH and Foals, both solid groups on the lineup this year. I followed with Tory Lanez who has been known for walking on the crowd as of late and his performance at Voodoo was not an exception. G-Eazy was up next and coming from someone that wasn’t particularly a fan before, I absolutely am now. He performed decked out as The Joker (pictured above) and his set included a “F*** Donald Trump” song, which would be considered extremely relevant today. I then made it over to Rae Sremmurd, the artists that replaced Kevin Gates on the lineup following his incarceration just three days before the festival. However, they made a great addition to the lineup. Slim Jxmmi even dressed up as Goku from Dragonball Z and later through the outfit into the crowd. Closing out the night was The Weeknd who put on one of the visually interesting shows I’ve ever seen. His setlist included everyone’s favorites from “Earned It” to his new hit “False Alarm”.
Day 2 was no disappointment. I arrived on site in the middle of The Pretty Reckless’s set which was amazing as expected. Taylor Momsen has been in the eye of the public for quite a while and delivers a performance quite unique. I then ran over to see Saint Motel, a band with a very dedicated crowd. Their stage setting included old TV’s in the theme of their “Saintmotelevision” album. In the heat of 2:30pm New Orleans sun these guys gave a great performance. Next were Reignwolf and Shakey Graves that both played short twenty-minute sets under the most packed tent I’ve ever seen. Snakehips was next on my list and I was actually able to have a short portrait session with them and speak to them after their set as they listened to DJ Mustard begin playing. The Claypool Lennon Delirium always deliver. If you’ve never seen them I would definitely recommend adding them to your bucket list, they are something truly special to experience. I then had the fun task of running back and forth to catch Melanie Martinez, Cage the Elephant, and Ghost. I am more than glad I did, Martinez also has a very unique stage setup and really knows how to command a stage. Cage the Elephant are born performers. Their setlist also included songs from previous albums including “In One Ear” and from their new album such as “Cold Cold Cold”. Ghost is by far one of my favorite live performances, these guys really know how to connect with their fans and use a stage. The closers for the night were Die Antwoord and Tool, two arguably niche artists that truly had the crowd split on who to see. I made it over to both sets and honestly wished I could have seen the entirety of both.
Unfortunately for day 3 I was not able to attend much of due to having to check out of a hotel and drive home nine hours. However, I was able to catch Snails, an artist very high on my Must See list now. The crowd was truly raging when I arrived and I could completely understand why. I then stuck around for Gramatik. This artist has been delivering music since 2008 and has yet to disappoint. I ended the day with STS9, a very unique group. Their music is entirely instrumental and derives from many different genres including jazz, psychedelia, and electronic.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience has absolutely been added to the list of Festivals I Must Go To Every Year. The weather was perfect, the location was perfect (NOLA Halloween weekend?!), the artists were incredible, and the fans were even better. While the outfits people wear are unique at EDM festivals, the things people wear to this are on another level. In a city that not only tolerates, but embraces alcohol, this was truly a special experience. 10/10 would recommend.
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