The only unwelcome attendee to this years Voodoo Music + Arts Experience was Tropical Storm Olga. But torrential rain and mud did not hinder artists nor fans from enjoying the weekends festivities which included a haunted house themed walk through experience, amusement park rides, festival food classics with local flair, a House of Blues installation, and of course tons of great music.
The rain fell steadily all day and night Friday but that did little to dampen the spirits of those in attendance for Bishop Briggs, Brandi Carlisle, Interpol, and Guns N’ Roses. By Saturday only a few reminders of Olga remained. Most notably was one of the massive screens on the main Altar Stage that had crashed overnight and had remained missing all weekend as well as the giant mud puddles that dotted the landscape.
With the sun shining and not a rain cloud in sight there was little to stop the throngs of fans in muddy rain boots from enjoying their favorite artists Saturday. Mattiel, SHAED, and Elohim started off the day on a high note with their early afternoon performances. Young the Giant brought a massive crowd for their set at the Altar stage and we learned from singer Sameer Gadhia that the band almost didn’t make their set at Voodoo due to their flight being cancelled five times. Fortunately for fans, the band made it to their set, claiming “divine intervention” as the reason for their sudden change in travel luck. As night began to fall, Denzel Curry took to the Wisner Stage with full-force energy, pumping the crowd up as he bounced from one side of the stage to the other. The most notable performance for me on Saturday was from electronic artist ZHU who appeared on stage with a gas mask and fire extinguisher as he moved through pulsating pyro flames before retreating to his DJ platform to play his hits like “Faded”, “Working For It” and a cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. Local New Orleans natives Royal Teeth brought a packed crowd to close out House of Blues tent while Beck ended Saturday night at The Altar main stage.
The last day of Voodoo did not disappoint. Early in the day, the ladies ruled the Wisner stage with fantastic performances from Maggie Lindemann, Ashe and Danileigh. Bring Me The Horizon brought an elaborate stage set-up for their performance on the Altar stage complete with handheld CO2 cannons, back-up dancers, and giant LED screens. The band played hits like “MANTRA”, “Happy Song,” and “Follow You” while closing out their set with the banger “Throne”. Sheck Wes brought one of the biggest crowds The Wisner stage saw all weekend. The “Mo Bamba” rapper revealed to the crowd that he almost didn’t make it to his performance as he had previously been in the emergency room due to unspecified reasons, but despite those circumstances still put on a great show. Closing out the night, Post Malone hit the stage with an elaborate display of lights and pyro. I was surprised to learn exactly how many radio hits Post Malone had until they were played consecutively throughout the night. “Sunflower”, “Circles”, “Better Now”, “rockstar”, and “Wow.” to name a few, but my favorite song performance of the night was the recent Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott collab hit, “Take What You Want” featuring Ozzy on the giant LED screens during his contribution portions of the song. Post Malone has come a long way since his Voodoo Fest debut in 2017 on the secondary Wisner stage. It was apparent from his performance Sunday that he was deserving of the main stage headlining slot.
Voodoo is always one of the highlights of my year. The festival never disappoints musically speaking as they consistently have a stellar line-up of artists year after year. But more than that, there is just something about spending Halloween weekend in a notoriously haunted city like New Orleans, bonding with strangers over cool costumes, listening to amazing music and eating local delicacies. That experience is what has brought me back annually for the past 10 years. C3 Presents does a bang-up job of transforming City Park into the best highlights of New Orleans so that people traveling near and far have the ability to experience the culture of the city without having to even leave the grounds.