The city of New Orleans, Louisiana celebrated the 20th anniversary of their iconic Voodoo Music + Arts Experience over the weekend of October 26th-28th. The annual Halloween festival has been entertaining the masses since 1999 with a diverse lineup featuring everything from indie rock to heavy metal to dubstep and everything in between.
New Orleans is one of the greatest places to experience Halloween due to the long history of rumored paranormal activity surrounding the area. Voodoo took the local undead fascination and ran with it, as the festival grounds featured a large graveyard filled with zombie actors, interactive props, and special effects that helped make it come to life. There was even a full haunted house exhibit free of charge for festival goers to enjoy.
Despite an overwhelming amount of mud on the first day, festival goers quickly adapted to the terrain and did not let the conditions of the ground affect the party. Luckily for fans (and their clothes) the second and third day of of the festival had much better conditions as a considerable portion of the mud had dried up.
All of the aforementioned attractions may provide a draw, but a music festival lives and dies by its lineup. Luckily, this year’s Voodoo was filled to the brim with talent.
Main stage headliners Mumford and Sons and Arctic Monkeys took advantage of their extended set times as both bands played through their collection of hits, leaving most fans without a voice the next day. The third main stage headliner to join the aforementioned bands was intended to be Childish Gambino, but due to an injury he was forced to cancel his appearance and was replaced by Travis Scott.
Scott’s electric performance to a packed house, made it clear that attendees were more than content with Gambino’s replacement. Energy ran high during his performance, and the fireworks display when he played his hit track “SICKO MODE” was an appropriately epic end to the second night of the festival.
Despite there not being an EDM act included in the three main stage headliners, dance music was alive and well at Voodoo. An entire staged was dedicated solely to EDM and it was far and beyond the loudest and brightest stage in the venue. After experiencing a few minutes of the bass at the dance stage, it was apparent why it was tucked in the back of the festival grounds.
The recently crowned #1 DJ in the world, Martin Garrix, closed out Saturday night with a uplifting set including many of his chart-topping hits.
ODESZA was the only electronic act to make an appearance on the main stage. Drum lines, an intricate light show, and their signature brand of live electronic music had fans of all genres getting down. The Bellingham, Washington electronic act received an extra half hour to perform and drew one of the largest crowds of the weekend.
In a rare festival appearance, legendary nu skool breaks godfather Tipper brought an astounding light show to the dance music stage and left attendees in a daze.
Alongside the previously mentioned artists was some of dance music’s up-and-coming and exciting new talent. Fan favorite Zeds Dead let loose a genre-blending set on the unsuspecting listeners and the result was one of the most engaged audiences of the weekend. Artists like Space Jesus, EPROM, Kayzo and Troyboi, brought the bass, while Nora En Pure, Cray, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Anna Lunoe brought the feelgood vibes that kept fans dancing all weekend long.
Keeping with the Halloween theme, legendary metal provocateur Marilyn Manson played a mixture of classic tracks and some of his newer music. Although the set was overall enjoyable, many attendees wished his mic would turned up louder, as it was difficult to hear the vocals in certain parts of the crowd.
The festival organizers were not the only ones who helped the city celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year. A significant portion of attendees arrived at the festival costume clad and ready to party. The clear, mild weather allowed attendees to show their true colors and dress up in a multitude of outfits.
This led to some interesting festival moments that helped give the event character. Only at a Halloween festival could you see the Power Rangers get down to LOUDPVCK alongside Vincent and Mia from Pulp Fiction. The skill and execution of many of the costumes helped attendees distinguish themselves from the typical “guy dressed as Waldo” that you see at literally every music festival.
With a stellar lineup and many fun halloween-themed attractions, Voodoo Music + Arts Experience was a fitting tribute to the undead. The combination of the engaged crowd and the multi-genre lineup makes Voodoo a weekend that everyone can enjoy, regardless of what kind of music they enjoy.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience's organizers should be proud of their work. The 20th anniversary went off without a hitch - and while exiting the festival on the last day, many fans were already talking about their excitement for next year’s show.