Written and Photographed by Taylor Powers
For 20 years, Voodoo Music + Arts Experience has bewitched festival-goers with exceptional lineups, haunting art installations, and an unparalleled setting in New Orleans’ City Park. This year was no different, and as we explored the grounds for the first time it became clear why the event draws more than 100,000 attendees annually to celebrate Halloween weekend.
We arrived Friday afternoon to an eerily enchanting combination of grey skies and vibrant, costume-clad fans. It wasn’t too long before the rain started up and man, did it pour! Along with a surprising number of people—who also thought partying in the rain was pretty magical—we stuck it out long enough to see MEMBA, TEMPLO, DUCKY, and CRAY, before seeking refuge in the on-site beer hall. From MEMBA’s more tropical, oriental vibes to CRAY’s dreamy live vocals, it was all too easy to forget the weather and enjoy their sets. Friday night we went back into the rain and watched PEEKABOO and SNAILS absolutely destroy Voodoo with maximum headbanging from the crowd and only minor technical complications. Slash shredding on the Altar stage with the rest of GUNS N’ ROSES helped us finish out day one.
Saturday we ventured from our post at Le Plur stage to see ELOHIM, YOUNG THE GIANT, and ZHU—though we circled back to catch MEDASIN, JAI WOLF, and BASSNECTAR. With the sun shining, everyone ditched their ponchos and donned their cheekiest Halloween attire, making for great photos and even better people watching. Voodoo staffers helped battle the inevitable mud with an influx of hay and raised walking platforms, but the grounds were too far gone for these measures to truly combat the increasingly heavy foot traffic. We squished and sloshed our way around, stopping at the House of Blues tent for barbecue and scoping out vendors in the marketplace before calling it a day.
Day three highlights included unique sets from K?D, OPIUO, BIG WILD, and REZZ, carnival rides, and more sunshine. It felt only right to close out a Halloween fest listening to the alien-like wubs and stylings of REZZ, whose pyrotechnics and pulsating visuals made for a hypnotic listening experience. We also checked out the black light mural paintings sponsored by Modelo as well as the haunted house—complete with live zombies!
From dancing in the rain on Friday to kicking back at the Forked Up food court with a shrimp po’ boy, it was an unforgettable trip to The Big Easy. Voodoo’s ability to maintain operations during inclement weather was impressive, and with an array of spooktacular activities, top tier talent, and attendees as lively as the city itself, Voodoo is sure to be a popular festival option for years to come.
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