By: Morgan Bates
City Park New Orleans, LA.
Halloween Weekend: October 28th-30th, 2016
I don’t know about you, but for me Halloween is always such a fun and exciting time of year. Fall is in the air, there are pumpkin patches and carving contests, costume parties, and tricks and of course treats! All of the excitement and mystery that October holds is thrilling. However, there are those of us who want more than the Monster Mash or those cheesy Halloween screams playing through our speakers. We who dare to take the scare elsewhere, pack up our costumes, load up our tricks and our treats and venture to New Orleans for the musical experience of the year, Voodoo Festival! This year was my third time joining the musically spiritual ritual and it seems the wonder and magic of this epic festival gets better and better as each year passes! The lineup this year was spectacular, the cuisine drool worthy, costumes both hilarious and terrifying, and so much to do in between the music you love! I had the time of my life!
The lineup included many bands I recognized and loved and some that I had already all over my playlists like Bear Hands, Rebelution, The Weeknd, Band of Horses, Cage The Elephant, and The Chainsmokers. While I discovered some incredible and surprising new favorites like Cheat Codes, Anderson Paak and the Free Rationals, The Shelters, The Seratones, Unikorn Fukr and Cakes Da Killa. Lets break it down day by day shall we?!
The ritual began Friday with an awesome start! One of my ultimate favorite bands, Bear Hands, kicked us off at The Altar stage like a “Boss” as they played some of my favorites like “2AM,” “Agora,” “Giants,” and “I Won’t Pay.” The best part, this was only the beginning of the musical adventure to come! I then ventured to Le Plur EDM stage to check out Cheat Codes! Not only were Trevor, Kevin and Matt of Cheat Codes so fun and cool to talk to after the show, but incredible entertainers as their show buzzed with an energy that I had never felt before as they performanced songs like “Let Me Hold You” and “Sex.” If you haven’t had the chance to check them out yet, you should definitely get on that! After the booming energy of a musical day started right, I continued to bounce from stage to stage getting to see Foals, Tory Lanez, to end up back where the day had started. At The Altar we jumped with G-Eazy who was dressed up as The Joker, and got down with the “Starboy” The Weeknd as he packed the park performing “The Hills,” “I Can’t Feel My Face” (or my legs at that point.) I know I was not the only one who left City Park knowing that the ritual would gain more and more power as the weekend continued.
After knowing the lay of the land a little better, Saturday started off in style as Diva Cakes Da Killa got everyone dancing as he took the Le Plur stage and even coming into the crowd to keep the dance party going. As the crowd encircled him the excitement grew and no one left that set with anything less than a smile across their face. Then, we tripped the switch as we made our way to The Altar to catch Nothing but Thieves, and not stopping all day between Oh Wonder and Snakehips before catching the eclectically girlie set of Melanie Martinez. The stage set as a rebel doll nursery that made the atmosphere everything fans had hoped for. Some fans had been up at the front of the Pepsi stage since the gates opened just to get as close as possible to catch her performances of “Crybaby,” “Dollhouse,” “Sippy Cup,” and “Alphabet Boy.” The night finished with one of my favorite bands ever Rebelution! They came out all dressed in kilts and totally rocked them as they brought only “Good Vibes” to the stage as they had the whole crowd “Feeling Alright” and singing along to hits like “Bright Side Of Life,” “Safe and Sound” “So High” and “Sky Is The Limit.”
Honestly I have to say that Voodoo certainly saved the best lineup for Sunday. The day began with getting hyped up with New Orleans DJ Unikorn Fukr before heading over to The Altar stage to check out The Shelters. I had heard of them before but, hadn’t had the chance to hear any of their music. After seeing them play, “Rebel Heart” was immediately added to playlists on Spotify. Up next was Anderson Paak & The Free Rationals, which had to be my favorite show of the whole weekend! The whole place roared with enthusiasm as they rocked so hard leaving nothing on The Altar. I hadn’t ever heard of them but, knew that I would be a fan from then on as I was drawn in song after song and hanging on every last word. I was upset when their set was over because I wanted more! Nonetheless, there was certainly more great music to come and be experienced that day. Band of Horses took to The Altar in true Rock N Roll fashion as party animals in pug and horse masks and had everyone jamming along to hits like “The Funeral” and “No One’s Gonna Love You.” Later, STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9) put on a light show so bright and electric that astronauts could probably see it from space and when the festival was all said and done, we all became “Closer” friends with The Chainsmokers.
Since there were so many shows to catch, racing from The Altar stage on one end of City Park to Le Plur, South Course, and Pepsi on the other was all in the fun! Along the way there was delicious grub like jambalaya and cheesy crawfish bread to be devoured, a glorious ferris wheel (which was even more beautiful all lit up at night,) the iconic Voodoo landmark structure, the crowd full of awesome people in costumes, and even a haunted house! I have to admit that I thrive on the rush and atmosphere of a festival! Especially one like Voodoo that has more to offer than just great music. It is an experience from beginning to end.
Needless to say, October is more than spooky fun, pumpkin spice, and fall for music lovers. With it comes the freedom to truly express yourself, let go of the horrors of a dull day to day, experiencing you favorite bands and discovering new favorites, dressing up as crazy as possible, and forgetting to word diet ever existed. Feelings I hope everyone gets to enjoy. There is no better musical release than the soul refreshing ritual that is Voodoo Festival. I will cherish all the wonderful memories I make each year and return to Voodoo Festival year after year until my body no longer allows! I’m ready for next year!
For more information about Voodoo Festival & to receive updates & notifications for next year’s ritual visit https://www.voodoofestival.com/ & check them out on all social media platforms!