Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2016 came back with a vengeance this year with 3 days of art, food, and great music.
Day 1 : Friday the festival started out strong and energetic with DJ group Cheat Codes. These guys had a ridiculously lively set bouncing around the stage, which in turn made the crowd mimic their animation and danced free to their remixes.
The next act we caught was Louisiana’s own The Seratones. If you haven’t heard of these guys, you should jump onto YouTube right now. Wait, we’ll actually just do that for you.
These guys and gal give a powerful gospel-rock performance that’s not quite like anything else we’ve heard before. The lead singer, A.J. Hines, is truly a force to be reckoned with. Just know if you attend one of their shows, she’ll make you crack a huge smile more than a few times.
Foals was the next band to hit the main stage a.k.a. the Altar Stage. Throughout the day, the English band garnered a large crowd that seemingly was waiting for them all day. They gave an intensely raw performance that most bands can’t pull off, especially one’s that have touring schedules as grueling as Foals.
Between Foals and the next big act of the day, G-Eazy, many took advantage of the Forked up Food Court—a collection of food establishments from all over New Orleans and Louisiana. You got your usual festival foods of burgers, pizza, and fries, but then we got New Orleans classics like Po Boys, Jambalaya, crawfish, and red beans with rice. If you were visiting from out of town, you were really getting the New Orleans experience at this food court. Voodoo easily wins the medal for best arrays of food selection we’ve seen at a festival.
After our bellies were full, we all headed back to the Altar stage for G-Eazy, a New Orleans favorite. In the Halloween spirit, G-Eazy fashioned a full-on Joker costume—make-up and everything. As the show went on he took a moment to talk about his appreciation for the city of New Orleans, and how 10 years ago he sneaked into his first Voodoo Festival. For Voodoo’s sake, we’re hoping not too many people identified with this story, but it brought the massive hip-hop star down to a peer-level with fans. After the moment of appreciation for NOLA he got back into it the show, and you could tell how much he was putting into the show by the dripping white and black make-up.
The next act caught was a favorite for us here at the Musies, and that is Porter Robinson. This EDM artist is like no other and his performance exemplified that. During his set, anime cartoons covered the LED screen that accompanied the incredible lighting set-up. Electronic music is one of the things you must be there to understand, and Porter’s flawless integration of sound and visuals put that on clear display.
The last group caught Friday was The Weeknd. This R&B superstar was one of the major motivations for people to purchase tickets or trek to NOLA. After a year without new music, The Weeknd has returned with monstrous tracks, including a collaboration with the enigmatic Daft Punk. He came out to “The Hills”, which got the crowd hyped up and ready for the rest of the set. From there on, an array of hits was performed and sang with the crowd. It was an ideal ending to the first night of the festival.
Day 2: The second day of Voodoo started off with a fresh performance by Saint Motel. After a lot of electronic acts on Friday, it was nice to be welcomed back on Saturday with the soothing, organic sounds of trumpets and guitars. More costumes were worn, and the entire band tore up the stage. When they played their radio hit “My Type”, everyone obviously busted into a dance frenzy.
The next band was Nothing But Thieves, and they brought a very raw and real presence to the Voodoo Altar stage. You could tell the guys were into their performance as much as we were when they played every song like it was the last. They ended their set with their hit “Trip Switch”, but we’re pretty positive people fell in love with them before that moment.
The next show of the day was Cage The Elephant. A crowd favorite and one of our personal favorites. They started their set with uninhibited energy and emotion, which carried through even after every song break. Their set kicked off with the classic “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked”, which got everybody in the crowd immediately in the mood to rage. Calls and responses were exchanged, voices were lost, and Cage won our vote for the best set of the day.
Day 3 : Sunday might have been the last day of the festival, but the atmosphere was surprisingly laid back. The day started off with a powerful and an unexpectedly political performance from Sir The Baptist. This soulful singer/rapper gave a very heated speech about educating our youth while still giving a hair-raising performance.
Between performers, voodoo festival goers could enjoy the carnival rides, the market, or even the haunted cemetery.
Next performer caught was Anderson .Paak, an energetic rapper that had the Altar stage bumping. Personally, I had never seen or listened to Anderson .Paak before this festival, but after seeing him live, it’s obvious why he amassed such a diverse crowd. His music will hit home with any listener, and that’s a guarantee.
Band of Horses was the next group to hit the Altar Stage. Although they came out they came out with disturbingly realistic dog masks, they did add a great Halloween vibe to their set. Once the masks came off and show started everyone was really feeling the folk rock feels that the band was sending out.
Last but definitely not least, the headliner and the band closing out the festival, Arcade Fire, took the stage. They started their performance with a song off their Grammy-winning album The Suburbs “Ready To Start”. And from there they played a variety of songs off all their records, new and old. You could tell the crowd was really connecting with this closing performance from the constant roars and dancing. Arcade Fire didn’t disappoint what was supposedly a culmination of every festival-goer by driving the momentum all the way until their encore. For a New Orleans festival, Arcade Fire served as an unbeatable headliner and succeeded in putting all the pieces of the weekend together.
Voodoo Fest 2016 went off without a hitch, and we can’t wait to see what they do next year.
Check out all our pictures from Voodoo below.