This past month, The Hypist was lucky enough to experience another magical weekend in one of our all time favorite cities, New Orleans. As a costume capital of the United States, we all know what happens in Nola doesn’t really stay in Nola and the glitter that fell out of my suitcase this morning can attest to this. Celebrating its 20th year, we’re here to give y’all a little insight on the craziness that was Voodoo Music + Arts Festival.
In New Orleans anything is an excuse for a celebration and a 20th anniversary is no different. Just like the city itself when you hear the trumpets sounding, the drumline roaring, and the tambourine jingling, you find it and jump in. On Saturday afternoon Voodoo held a park-wide parade hosted by Modelo that carried on for a good portion of the morning. Modelo also had their own Casa Modelo complete with a 3 story viewing deck, a black light tunnel, elaborate murals, and makeup artists ready to bring you back from the dead with sugar skull face paint. Other big names in attendance included Uber with free hair and makeup artists ready to take you from drab to fab every morning, Bacardi Bay which had you covered on all drinks frozen and the Wolf Bat Incantation Station created by NY artist Dennis McNett complete with tarot readings, New Belgium tonics and interactive art displays sure to twist your mind.
While it may seem like the festival was targeted for those of us 21+, the all-ages party had creative activities for baby sharks and teen witches alike. Special to Voodoo Fest is the haunted mansion mortuary installation. A full-fledged haunted house that pops up in notorious City Park is sure to send a twinge down your spine. The haunted house grounds also house devilish creatures that pop out and larger than life Nola style gravestones similar to the oh so famous St. Louis site stones. Other great attractions included a colorful amusement ride blaring some of the hottest tracks on the electronic charts and of course a sparkling twirling ferris wheel to see the city from above, because what festival is complete without one?
If the attractions haven’t quite enticed you yet, the music is sure to. A majority of the news we bring you is targeted towards electronic music but when it comes down to it, we’ll dance to anything. That’s why we saw the magic that is Mumford & Sons, the angst that is Arctic Monkeys & the metal that is Marilyn Manson. Headlining Friday night, Mumford & Sons absolutely blew us away. If you like bands that sound better live than on vinyl then this is a band we DEEPLY encourage you to chase. They’ll be kicking off their new tour in Philly next month so grab tickets while you can. Other important acts we saw on Friday included Third Eye Blind who kicked off the weekend with some 90’s nostalgia, a little Claptone b2b Shiba San which got us movin’ and groovin’ before slowing down the night for one of our favorite groups, Rufus Du Sol to perform some of their tracks off the latest album, Solace. Zeds Dead also headlined Friday night but we only got half of the dynamic duo, so while their sound was still there, the energy wasn’t quite the same. Leaving us all wondering… where the heck was DC? While nothing has been said about a missing DC, all we can keep wondering is.. DC… r u good?
Saturday was a brand new day & it was a day for the girls. We spent the morning exploring the alleys of the French Quarter, wandering through shops and eating a Cajun hangover breakfast cure to get us in the mood for a day filled with some girl power. Sirius XM’s resident DJ, Nora En Pure purified our souls from all shenanigans that occurred Friday night, and with almost 2 hours of playtime and 2 different sets the Swiss DJ took us on a trip through deep house heaven. Other major female power came from the killer combo that is Sofi Tukker. Both Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern are not only musically talented, but the Brown University students are also incredibly intelligent. Their jungle sounds and Portuguese poetry come together so beautifully to create house hits that even shook Apple. The duo was featured in the latest Apple commercial so if you didn’t think Voodoo knew what they were doing by booking them, you were very mistaken my friends. Major power also was cast upon us from Los Angeles producer Cray, soul-pop singer Lizzo & Grammy nominee Janelle Monáe. There’s no need to fear my dudes, Tom Misch, Harrison & Clayton of Odesza, Marilyn Manson & Martin Garrix held it down as well. Each of the artists has a sound completely their own so while it was a little interesting to go from head bobbing, to crying to moshing to UK style raving, Voodoo set it up so everyone from all walks of life were included, which made us all feel like we were home.
Saturday was also the night of after parties. Hell’s Gala’s 10 year anniversary happened to be taking place at Mardi Gras World which gave us definite Buku vibes. Headlining the nighttime bash was Illenium, Chris Lake, Jantsen, Ducky and more so rest assured we were as anxious to get there as you were. While Hell’s Gala was a little bit on the pricey side, Voodoo official after party had you covered with Porter Robinson and if you’re a little more strapped for cash, Nola will still take care of you. The craziness that is both Bourbon Street & Frenchmen street had enough festivities to keep you going all night long if you desired.
Sundays in the south are unlike Sundays in the PNW, Midwest and East coast. Sunday morning in New Orleans was filled with sunshine and a mentality that moves slower than molasses. No need to fear, just because the city moves a lot slower doesn’t mean the festival slowed down in even the slightest. We were blessed by an acoustic set from one of the best things to come out of France, DJ and producer Clozee. Jungle mama had two back to back sets; a main stage set followed by a more intimate set in the music den. Holding less than 150 people, we got the chance to hear her play some of her newest hits on guitar less than 15 feet away from where she makes her ethereal sound. Keep an eye on this one Hypist fam, she’s on the fast track for success that will leave you saying “Merci Beaucoup”. Other can’t miss artists included the oh so mysterious Dave Tipper complete with special Halloween graphics trippy enough to question all of life’s existence. English rock band, The Arctic Monkeys, closed out the awesomeness that was Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2018. The band gave us all of our favorite early 2010 hits, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, “R U Mine?” & “Do I Wanna Know?” as well as some songs off their latest album “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”.
While we hate to do it, we have to do it. Nola is notorious for flooding and water issues and Voodoo unfortunately doesn’t stand apart here. With only two water stations in the entire park, we do have to wonder what would have happened if the temperature had been a little hotter. Hopefully we’ll see some collaboration with Vibedration in the future. With rain comes mud and Voodoo was a GIANT Louisiana mud pit. Attendees went home with mud in their shoes, on their legs and a few brave souls had mud on their faces. The problem was more or less out of the control of festival coordinators but we do hope to see a little more preparation in the future for Doodoo fest, errr Voodoo fest, as well and we’ll make sure to bring our rain boots and waders for next year!
All jokes aside, Voodoo is one of those festivals that’ll always have a little place in our hearts. The Hypist fam will keep coming back year after year and you should too. From Haunted Houses to Grammy nominee artists to an entire barn full of craft beer and a spooky parade, Voodoo fest is one for the books. There are countless experiences to be had, loving friends to be made and endless music to be listened to, and Voodoo Festival in New Orleans is your one-stop shop for all of it and stands out above the rest.