“I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music came from New Orleans.” Entering Buku Music + Art Project on the first day of this two-day festival around 2 PM, this quote by the late,great R&B singer Ernie K-Doe seemed to fit perfectly. Spread over five different stages, Buku had a quintessential New Orleans vibe matched by the eclectic and impressive stages, art, food, and musicians.
The Power Plant, the main stage, featured artists such as Zedd, David Guetta, The Flaming Lips, and Ellie Goulding. With the eerie glow of the decrepit Market Street Power Plant behind the stage, the Power Plant serves as a marker of Buku from afar. The Float Den, which is a Mardi Gras float manufacturing warehouse, is lined with exquisite floats and becomes a high-energy warehouse dance party. Kaskade, Zeds Dead, The Glitch Mob, Griz, and Baauer B2B RL Grime all turned the the Float Den into a crazy, pumped up area. Featured in the Ballroom, a concert hall on festival grounds, were artists like Beats Antique, Phantogram, and Chance the Rapper. The Back Alley proved to be a hidden gem with DJs like Seth Troxler, Cashmere Cat, and Skream. Located in a secluded corner right on the Mississippi River, the combination of the brisk breeze and the lights from the nearby bridge made the Back Alley an otherworldly event. Lastly, for those who chose VIP, the S.S. Blu-Ku is a riverboat docked on the river with special performances from The Gaslamp Killer and Miami Horror to name a few along with other VIP benefits.
Besides the diverse stages and artists, Buku also had a Graffiti Wall that was graffitied as the festival went on and a plethora of food and drink options. Tents set up throughout the festival offered food from local New Orleans restaurants such as Beacoup Juice and Grill, Bratz Y’all, and City Greens. Bars were also spread throughout the festival grounds so it was never difficult to find delicious food or drink. If you got tired out from dancing or standing listening to music, Monster had a luxurious viewing area set up right along the river where you could watch the Power Plant. There was also Fort Buku which is basically a giant hammock, the perfect spot to chill out on.
All in all, the vibe of Buku Music + Art Project is what sets it apart from other festivals. Lasting from 2 PM till 2 AM and being an 18+ event give it more of a late night atmosphere. Furthermore, the attendees are welcoming, easy-going music lovers that are all there for the same reason: to enjoy all that life has to offer. I’m already getting goosebumps just thinking about Buku 2015!