Voodoo – A Fantastically, Freaky Festival

In one word, the city of New Orleans screams insanity – and I mean that in the most phenomenal way.

PC: Greg Elarton
PC: Greg Elarton

The Big Easy is dripping in raw uniqueness and pride; like a virus, infecting with the disease of majestic gloom and unpredictability.

The city encompasses culture, lunatics, and music enthusiasts, promising unforgettable experiences. A music festival in the heart of New Orleans’ City Park on Halloween weekend, ensures a freaky, fantastic event, incomparable to any other.

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience occurred last weekend (10/28-10/30), Friday to Sunday. Each day, thousands of music fanatics piled into City Park for a glimpse of fearless entertainment. There were four stages: Pepsi, Altar, South Course, and Le Plur, forming a U-shape around the festival grounds.

Festival-goers shimmered in costumes: furry leg warmers, neon headbands, glittering hoods; nonetheless, Voodoo added an element of creepiness to accommodate Halloween. Covered in fake blood and chilling masks, lunatics ran through the park like a posse of haunting hooligans, dashing through an electric cemetery filled with zombies and spooky fog.

Before music commenced, Voodoo exhibited a memorable persona; alive with the theme of undead. On Friday afternoon, I waltzed into Altar, the main stage, to ignite my weekend with Mutemath: a blend of jam, indie rock, and electronica.

Lead singer, Paul Meany, stomped on his keyboard, flipping over the instrument like a gymnast. To his right was drummer, Darren King, banging with so much passion, his platform shook and wobbled as though on the brink of collapsing.

The set concluded with Meany’s young daughter rocking on stage: pink guitar across her tiny frame, with the snarl of a rock goddess puckered upon her face.

Porter Robinson lifted spirits with upbeat tones, techno-color lights, and confetti; but the night was soon owned by the rappers. The Weeknd performed a sexy RnB set, highlighting his sultry voice and iconic hair. Peering through the mossy trees, The Weeknds silhouette appeared before alternating sheets of color, filling the inhabitants of Altar Stage with lust.

PC: Greg Elarton
PC: Greg Elarton

Day two of Voodoo began with The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Sean Lennon shredded the guitar, transporting attendees through a time portal and into the age of classic rock n’ roll. The sunset performance was psychedelic, adding Halloween effects such as a pig mask worn by Claypool.

After the pure rock set, I moved to Le Plur stage: the ultimate electronica experience.

An arch, made of twirling lights, bewitched like a mind-melting trip.

Alison Wonderland embodied some major female power. Constantly interacting with the crowd, the Sydney-based DJ dedicated songs to depression and victims of cheating.

Following, was the fabulously intense Excision. His grimy beats resonated through every vein, as headbangers blissfully accepted whiplash.

Saturday night closed with two of the freakiest artists at the festival: Tool and Die Antwoord. Altar Stage hosted Tool: the progressive art band, incorporating metal, psychedelia, and rock. As the show evolved, visuals acted like a beautifully twisted film enriched by power, depth, and intensity.

The last day of the festival arrived; a bitter-sweet sensation. Upon Pepsi Stage, Tools Maynard James Keenan displayed another creative project during the Puscifer set: a fun, freaky lucha libre performance with rocking tunes to echo the one-of-a-kind hijinks.

Over at Le Plur, the grimy and trippy artist, Snails, flashed images of snails puking rainbow goo.

The electronic vibes were injected into the audience, as if magical multi-colored goop pulsated throughout ravers’ bodies.

After Snails was the best show of the weekend: STS9. The colorful jam band hypnotized with rainbow lasers and impressive musicality.

Female bassist, Alana Rocklin, added funkiness to the performance, while Zach Velmer gradually increased energy upon his drums. Euphoria gleamed from the spirits of South Course’s crowd. “World Go Round,” the concluding song of STS9’s set, instilled a desire for one, two, or ten more songs.

Voodoo’s final show was The Chainsmokers at Le Plur. The crowd smooshed together, enthusiastically bumping and stepping on one another. Throwbacks from Blink 182 and The Killers, original favorites such as “Roses,” “Kanye,” and “Closer,” and hip-hop remixes, collaborated into a perfect mesh.

Sunday night’s show presented something for everyone: grimy electronica; sing-alongs with hands in the air; and grinding breakdowns. With a couple minutes remaining, The Chainsmokers played their popular jam, “Don’t Let Me Down.”

The crowd went wild, as the pop-duo lengthened the song, adding bass drops and visuals. Fireworks shot into the air, illuminating the sky with confetti and an epic array of lights; a grand finale surpassing expectations.

Festival-goers fled City Park, uttering “Bye-Bye-Voo-Doo,” mimicking the words of Die Antwoords Yolandi Visser.

The freakiness of Voodoo lingered, spilling into the city.

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience was a truly original festival, exhibiting distinctly gorgeous weirdness and the epitome of Halloween. It was a trick and a treat for the freaky music enthusiast; a daring depiction of the insane art within New Orleans.

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