Halloween Weekend Magic at VooDoo Music & Arts Experience
Follow us on the Halloween adventure that was the 17th annual VooDoo Music & Arts Experience in the nation’s capital of creepy, New Orleans, Louisiana.
There are hundreds of reasons people would go to New Orleans for their Halloween weekend. Not only did the historic city set the stage for many an Anne Rice novel; it’s the nation’s home of voodoo, witches, ghosts and overall wonderful creepy shit. The setting alone makes for a classic Halloween. Half the town dresses in costume on the daily, vampire and mystic shops surround you wherever you turn. Not to mention the French Quarter, with ally ways begging and calling for you to get lost in a whirlwind of hand-grenade fueled debauchery.
There is one stand out reason to be in New Orleans Halloween weekend though – and that is the 17 year-running VooDoo Music + Arts Experience. Since 1999 thousands of locals, travelers, and music lovers of all varieties have been gathering in City Park to get creepy and “Worship the Music” together in a Halloween themed playground. Since its genesis, VooDoo Music festival has brought more than a million music and Halloween lovers together. With over 3,000 artist performances in the books, VooDoo Music festival has become a steadfast Halloween tradition. This year alone brought together 90,000 guests.
Describing the scale of VooDoo Music + Arts Experience alone is a difficult task. Completely taking over City Park, the festival was spread out perfectly to accommodate every inch of detail the newly brought on C3 Presents was aiming to achieve. When it comes to great production, it’s in the little details. Sure mind-blowing light shows, the chilling graveyard and tall-standing structures set the mood; but a truly well run music festival hones in on the little things. Like the fact that there was no musical overlap between stages, and the sound structure was so on point, no one act bled into another.
The Forked Up Food Court was another great aspect. Throwing in a wider variety of local and unique dining and snacking options to the long line of vendors was an appreciated touch. The graveyard we mentioned above was another great touch. After listening to come guest feedback about VooDoo music festival having a slight lack of spookiness, C3 answered by adding their Selfie Cemetery smack in the middle of the grounds. The scare zone was complete with zombie actors, animatronics, and a haunted house. At night, the Cemetery added an extra level of spook with flashing lights, tons of fog, and of course creepy music. The zombies chasing people added a hilarious level of entertainment for those people watching on the outskirts too (aka me because I’m a horrible person).
VooDoo Music + Arts Experience was more the former than the latter in my opinion. The vendor and art section seemed pretty dwarfed by the three large stages surrounding it. That didn’t stop guests from flocking to the area and checking out all the talented artists jamming to the music at the South Course stage. It was hard to spend a lot of time at the art tents though, considering the phenomenal lineup the festival had in store for the Halloween weekend.
VooDoo let their freak flag fly this weekend with a mixture of top-billing artists, freaky-fun acts, and extremely diverse performances. VooDoo hosted headliners The Weekend, Tool, Die Antwoord and The Chainsmokers. Each day had a different theme set to it, so it seemed. Friday was a little more R&B and hip-hop heavy with performances by G-Eazy, Rae Sremmurd, and of course The Weekend to wrap up the night. Saturday boasted a more trippy and heavier vibe. The likes of Tool, All them Witches and of course Die Antwoord’s unique brand of distorted electro-gangsta-rap made for a perfect night. Sunday expressed the uniqueness of the city in which VooDoo Music festival lives. Various artists such as Beats Antique, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals and of course the ever-popular Chainsmokers.
One notable act from Friday’s set was the up and coming DJ trio Cheat Codes. Fresh from playing Billboards Hot 100 festival after only a year of recognition, Matt, Trevor and Kevi are three buds just looking to bring people together through music. Well they achieved their goal this weekend by bringing a huge crowd to the La Plur stage with more and more people filling up area as they played their set. The trio has a diverse sound that’s a bit of a cross over of popular EDM genres mostly mixing more alternative-tropical songs, which I just eat up. Their most popular songs are Sex (mixing a fresh jam of Salt & Peppa’s ‘Lets Talk About Sex’) or Turn Me On, which is the song that got me hooked on Cheat Codes in the first place. Check em’ out, you won’t be disappointed.
The Weekend wrapped up Friday with an honestly… okay performance. There were some trickling complaints about the sound being a little too quiet for one of the top billing acts. The freshly cut singer opened with seven-time platinum hit “The Hills,” and the crowd went mild singing and bopping along. The performance was darker with a bit of flash and subtly. The stage was dressed with a giant LED triangle and the only major production would (I guess?) be the visuals they overlaid on the large screen focusing on the artist virtually alone on stage. Like I said it was a little underwhelming … especially with my growing anticipation to see Die Antwoord the very next day. But I’ll be patient and get through everything else Saturday.
Saturday at VooDoo Music + Arts Experience was the day to go if I had to choose just one. Every one of the 90,000 attendees were dressed in their Halloween best. Through the sea of Elevens, Harley Quinns, Cats, Bats, men dressed as women, women dressed as men… you were hard pressed to see a costume that wasn’t uniquely that persons. I’ll have to say a lot of the girl’s makeup is what did it for me. Way to follow those tutorials ladies because your makeup was on-point.
Of course, because we are the electronic music junkies we are, we mostly hung around the La Plur stage on Saturday. Only to break away for a few to check out Cage the Elephant. We staked our claim on a prime spot to see Alison Wonderland, Excision and of course Die Antwoord. We were particularly excited to see Alison Wonderland. As Michael’s top pick for the weekend we were on pins and needles to see her perform U Don’t Know and I Want U. She busted out a lot from her upcoming new album and some experimental stuff she’s been playing around with. Typically this is a special treat for fans, and it totally was! But we were a little bummed she changed around some favorite drops and choruses that we were really looking forward to hearing. Overall though, she’s an extremely talented lady and from what she played, her new album is going to be fire.
OkayOkay I’ll just jump right into it because I’m genuinely surprised I haven’t gushed about this performance yet. But Die Antwoord completely stole the whole weekend. Ninja, Yolandi, and Di Hi-Tek have been shaking up the music scene for ten years now. They are recently building more recognition after starring in the movie Chappie and promoting their (amaaaaaaazing) upcoming album Mt. Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid. Simply put, the three know how to perform.
Their energy alone was enough to shake up the whole crowd even after all the head banging from Excision. Kicking off the show with high energy favorite Fatty BoomBoom, they set the tone for the whole show perfectly. Their transitions were seamless through their songs. Even including a very intimate (and hilarious) moment where Ninja touched the crowed with an A Cappella performance that ended in blow up cartoons with huge dicks blowing confetti loads. Like I said, amazing.
Yolandi was a gangsta fairy goddess, skipping her way back and forth on the stage and costume changing at least 5 times during the performance. It’s always a magical experience when your favorite artists play every.single.one of your favorite songs. I was definitely not disappointed at their showman ship and production. It was definitely worth having to sit through Excisions heavy heavy bass-noise to hold on to my perfect spot to catch all the ZEF greatness.
Though we had to catch an early flight, Sunday was nothing to scoff at either. The day was filled with bumping acts and experimental jams that would please any music lover at any stage. Beats Antique brought their bass filled psychedelic circus-funk to the table while Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals brought their ever progressive hip-hop and rap sounds to audiences ears. The phenomenal Halloween Weekend was capped with the radio infesting Chainsmokers. The duo saw a huge crowd of screaming fans singing along to recent hits “Closer” and “Don’t let me down.”
The VooDoo Music + Arts Experience was exactly that, an experience. Unlike anything I’ve been too, VooDoo Music festival was unique, amazing, and packed with phenomenal artists that kept us moving all weekend. If the lineup and amenities weren’t enough the setting of New Orleans added an extra level of Halloween magic to the whole affair. Though Suwannee Hulaween has a special place in my heart; choosing my Halloween plans for next year is going to be a difficult choice. I cannot wait to see what the VooDoo music crew has in store for next year!