Heading down to the Big Easy is always a favorite time for us (my fiancé’s a New Orleanian) so when I caught wind of lineup addition’s Snoop Dog and Girl Talk, I knew we had to go. The trek to Voodoo began last Thursday, October 27th
, when we flew from NYC to Nola, in excited anticipation of the opening day. After a day of walking around the quarter, hitting up the flea market, costume shops, and snagging a few beignets at Café du Monde, we headed over to check in at the Hotel Monteleone and went to bed early (and yes, it's New Orleans, and drinking is everyone’s part-time job there, but we were too exhausted to go guzzle hurricanes that night).
Day 1- Friday October 28th
We left around 2:00PM, completely unprepared for the dismal day and sudden cold front (of course we get there and the weather turns to garbage). After parking, we began our walk to the entrance. Now, if you’ve seen City Park, then you already know that its beautiful, but this was something special. Walking up, amidst a huge crowd of people, all dressed in some funky way to celebrate the oncoming experience, I was in awe at the gorgeous columned gazebo overlooking a lake, and the library towering above in daylight glory. On any other day these kids (who looked like on every drug in the alphabet) would look out of place. As we got closer, we saw tents scattered along the dirt path leading into the grounds, carrying fun chachkas and services like hair feathers, hand carved wooden sculptures, and even boho dresses. Neon jax and signs saying Nola catchphrases like “Who Dat” and “Where y’at” hung from the trees around the shopping tents. Normally, with the tarot readings, shrine to some voodoo god, and a mini parade of “freaks” playing odd instruments (indescribable unless you’ve seen them), I would’ve been slightly apprehensive of what I had gotten myself into. But if being in New Orleans is good for anything, it's losing your inhibitions. So all pretenses gone, we continued on to explore the fair and art installations. For the music-tired there were rides like a mini roller coaster, a space blaster, and a ferris wheel, all unlimited for the people who bought VIP passes.
After riding all the rides they had to offer, we headed over to the food section which held awesome Louisiana favorites from different local restaurants like crawfish ettouffe, chicken and sausage jambalaya, and alligator shish kebab, which leaves an NYC girl with slim options- luckily there were treats like bacon and cheddar crepes, twisted mac and cheese, and philly cheesesteaks. We headed over to the Le Plur Red Bulletin stage for the first big name, Dirty South, to start. After an incredible performance (everyone was dancing) with his new hits like “Walking Alone,” people warmed up for Major Lazer, and Steve Angello, who played after him. We stuck around for Major Lazer which was crazy intense. Lazor lights flashed green, red, and blue across the crowd (it had become huge after Dirty South). People were crowd surfing, bopping up and down, and just enjoying the techno beats.
My Chemical Romance
We left midway to head over to the LOA Lounge for a breather, and to wait for My Chemical Romance. The bi-level lounge itself was impressive with an outdoor club feel, with leather ottomans and couches, a Garnier voodoo your do station, and discounted drinks like Bud Light and vodka with cranberry and orange (it was so refreshing to spend $6 bucks on a drink compared to the usual $12 cocktails here in NYC). When MCR finally hit the stage we were buzzed and ready to rock out to our favorite shrieker. People sang along, and fist pumped throughout the crowd as MCR ploughed through hit after hit.
Afterward we awaited Soundgarden. People screamed louder than any other show (so far- Snoop Dog, who performed the next day, is a different story) in excitement of Chris Cornell’s flawless croon. In the VIP section, situated on the left side of the Le Ritual Voodoo stage, we could see the rest of the crow
d and all the thirty-somethings that came out of the woodwork with their kids to relive their glory days. Another sing-a-long band, people threw out their best Cornell impersonations, and he commanded the stage. The bass completed the sensory experience- it was so heavy I could feel it vibrating the ground below at first, and by the end my entire body was pounding with the beat. They finished one by one- with Chris leaving the stage first, then the guitar, then the bassist, and we left to drink our last drinks of the night in the French Quarter.
Day 2- Saturday October 29th
The biggest day was definitely Saturday. Once we got to the park, we watched Mastadon and Social Distortion, which were fun but the big events were Snoop Dogg, Blink 182, and Girl Talk. Snoop came on (in a Colston jersey, no less. Who Dat?!) and asked “anyone smoke weed?” and I’m not exaggerating when I say a thick smokey haze arose from the crowd as people screamed and rose their joints, in response. He started with old hits like "Snoop a Loop" and brought out special guest, Juvenile to help perform "Shake Ya Ass."
Midway I left the boys to go catch the tail-end of Kreayshawn but couldn’t make it in time. It didn’t matter though, Girl Talk, my music weakness, was on next. We could hear his intro in the distance. Imagine the mumble growing louder and louder as we got close- Girl TALK, GIrl TALK, GIRl TALK, GIRL TALK. People, all with multi-colored glowsticks, were chanting along with it and somehow (with the incredible skills of my
friend) we pushed past the crowd (which was just a big as Snoop, who was still performing across the grounds) and reached almost to the front. You can tell how crazy it was with the sole fact that at first, we were layered in jackets because it was freezing, but the audience generated so much heat, with all our crazy dancing, it felt like midsummer. Girl Talk was going nuts onstage with costumed audience members jumping around with him, as he showered us with orange confetti, Halloween balloons, and even water at some point. The walls behind and around his station were screens which flashed psychedelic patterns (didn’t you know that Girl Talk is synonymous with acid tabs?) as he played his signature remixed hits like Ludacris’ “Move Bitch,” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
We left before the madness ended so we could go see the end of Blink 182. We met up with the guys and I got to hear the two total songs that I know from them “All the Small Things” and “I Miss You.” Afterward we ate some chicken and sausage jambalaya and headed to the quarter for some drunken Halloween fun- which included going to the hotel and falling asleep by accident.
Day 3- Sunday October 30th
Crowd awaiting Blink 182
Although we were exhausted from the first two days, we knew we had to stick it out and finish with A-Trak, and Fatboy Slim. So after the Saints game (can I get a wtf?) we went back, for the final excursion. After a bit of A-Trak who had turned the Le Plur stage into an all-out rave, we went to the LOA to stock up on drinks before Fatboy Slim. While one half of the Voodoo crowd waited for The Raconteurs, we made our way to the front of Fatboy Slim, exhilarated for the last show we’d get to experience. And what a show it was. He came out and started with “Praise You” and from the first line, people were singing, already going nuts. He turned the song into a huge techno set (which he did with all the songs) and everyone just jumped up and down, hands in the air, losing all control. Like Girl Talk, there were lasers flashing, smoke machines blasting, and psychedelic images flashed on the screen. The beats were so overwhelming, I couldn’t stand still without feeling the pounding vibration stemming up my feet and into my chest. We couldn’t help but dance until the very end. And once it ended, we walked amidst a crowd of tired hippies to our car and left to enjoy the last night in Nola. Voodoo was more than fun, it was magical- for three days we got to step into some other world where the only rule is to ask "why not?"