About This Festival
New Orleans on Halloween
Voodoo Arts & Music Experience takes advantage of the local flavor and unique culture of New Orleans to stand out in an increasingly dense post-Coachella landscape of seemingly identical music festivals in the US. The Voodoo Experience, while giving an obvious nod to voodoo’s spiritual roots, has crafted its festival vision more around mainstream Halloween iconography than real voodoo. Think “American Horror Story” meets music festival, not spells from a voodoo priestess.
Voodoo Experience represents its diverse yet unmistakable hometown charm by dividing its presentations into three groups or stages: Le Carnival, which is a performance art space that represents the underground burlesque and circus scenes of New Orleans; Le Flambeau, which is devoted to the local music scene ranging from Dr. John to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band; and lastly, Le Ritual is home to national-level headliners and mainstream acts have included Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Pearl Jam. These three distinct channels have allowed Voodoo’s spirit to remain undiluted while attracting tens of thousands of fans annually.
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Voodoo’s relationship with the Big Easy has never been “easy.” In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, with loss of life and property on a staggering scale. Plans were in place to move Voodoo to Memphis, Tennessee that year when event founder Stephen Rehage, Mayor Ray Nagin, and erstwhile resident, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, organized a one-day special iteration of Voodoo to lift New Orleans’ defeated spirits. This version of Voodoo was a way of giving back to the city it called home, a by-invitation-only concert event for relief workers, including members of local police and fire departments and the National Guard, all of whom had been under serious duress helping the city recover in the wake of Katrina. What followed was a relief and a salve for an ailing city, one that raised spirits and brought life and activity back to a place that had been far too quiet for its own good.
Performances by Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age brought the house down, while local acts like World Leader Pretend received heaping tons of hometown love. One reporter spoke of the traffic lights leaving Voodoo creating “a serpentine line of traffic. The last time many of the audience members saw so many taillights they were fleeing New Orleans. Now, they were heading home.”
At Home in City Park
New Orleans’ City Park is a treasure trove of lush green bayou landscapes, classic stone bridges, and opulent verandas upon which mint juleps practically beg to be sipped. Named one of CNN’s must-do New Orleans activities, City Park offers a host of attractions aside from Voodoo, including an amusement park and a sculpture garden overrun by oppressive yet beautiful live oak trees.
Our advice? Plan to stay beyond the duration of Voodoo. There’s just so much to do and see in New Orleans and what you do outside of Voodoo could be just as special, if not more so than the concert itself. The people of New Orleans, it’s said, have the best stories. So make like a local and make some stories of your own.