For the last three years, in early March, I have made the pilgrimage to New Orleans in an attempt to escape the final days of winter.
What I end up experiencing is something much more magical and fulfilling than a few days in the sun. BUKU Music & Art Project fills my soul with a unique joy that keeps me coming back every year for more! Although I have attended the fest a few times, I have a different experience every year. For example, this year, I finally made it to not one but TWO after party shows!!! The festival organizers do a great job working with local venues to secure some great talent for these events. This year, I could not say no to STS9 or Griz! Somehow (with a little help from my friends), I made it out to the Joy Theatre on Friday and Saturday after the festival wrapped up at Mardi Gras World. I’m happy I finally made it out to the Joy Theatre because it is a beautiful venue. I have seen Tribe and Griz a few times at festivals and various venues in Georgia but it was nice to experience them in a completely new setting right down the road from Bourbon Street.
BUKU is kind of a sprint of a festival, only two days with a lot of great music. Festival logistics always blow my mind. Production crews have to work non-stop to prepare for the next artist to play on a stage, while making sure the current artist is running smoothly, and while clearing out the previous artist. Add a few thousand people in the audience to the mix and you have a lot of pressure on a small team of people. BUKU 2015 ran more smoothly than almost any festival I have seen in a while. Artists began their sets on time and there weren’t hardly any issues that I noticed. A few glitches during the Die Antwoord show seemed like they were managed accordingly (it’s worth noting that the band’s current tour production is crazy and complex). Other than those minor instances, I was thoroughly impressed with the sound quality and overall production of each set. The main stage is a typical free standing large stage where the headlining acts performed but it was also where some of my favorite day sets happened. TV On The Radio and STS9 both had day time sets on the main stage, which were both absolutely perfect! A few hours later, the King of the Bass, Bassnectar played on the same stage. The sound was definitely turned up for Bassnectar but he also had the biggest crowd of the entire festival. Changes like that tend to go unnoticed but make a big difference. It definitely shows the organizers pay attention to detail!
Some sets that really stood out to me…I began my 2015 BUKU with Pell. I would classify him as a mix of Childish Gambino, Theophilus London, and Chance the Rapper. He’s a little bit of each and I am a huge new fan of his genuine New Orleans style. We got a chance to chat with him and his crew, which included his #1 fan….his awesome dad!
Of course, I got a chance to check out some of the Dirtybird leader, Claude VonStroke, who always manages to make the room bounce. Friday was definitely the hip hop day as we were able to check offYung Lean & Sad Boys and my favorites, Run The Jewels from the list, too! There was so much going on that night I bounced around and tried to catch it all.Thomas Jack threw down on the Back Alley stage, where all the cool kids hung out ?
All that really mattered that weekend was the lineup for Saturday. We were graced with a schedule that could only lead to pure bliss and enlightenment…ODESZA into Passion Pit into Bassnectar into Hudson Mohawke into Justin Martin B2B Eats Everything into PORTER ROBINSON. The night was more beautiful than I could ever imagine.
I am excited to see how the festival improves yet again in 2016. I know the lineup will be stellar, the staff will be friendly, the atmosphere will be buzzing and it will be a great start to spring! BUKU is definitely a festival I would recommend people buy tickets at the earliest time to save. They will sell out and you will want to go. Might as well hop on the cheaper price level when you get a chance. Until next time, New Orleans…you were lovely *blows a goodbye kiss*