The pace of my on-trend sneakers eagerly increased as I stepped from the paved streets towards the muddy fields lining that beautiful Mississippi River. The energy of the crowd was crunching paths of freshly placed gravel to a beat, a high-energy electronic beat. I was ready to check out what summoned beaucoup believers to the Buku experience. Game on New Orleans, let’s go.
Mardi Gras World was the scene of a play and diverse in its characters and stages. Sexy youthful girls geared with hula hoops and highwaisted booty shorts playing to dudes sporting perfectly mismatched prints and muscle shirts. The smell of vaping was in the air. I had my eye and ear on one of the outdoor stages ‘Power Plant’ which yes had a most awesome vintage and seemingly abandoned power plant behind it. The breeze from the river was hitting as I scanned my wristband and entered the madness. I was smitten by the chill funk ST69 was emitting but had to explore the rest of the fest before relaxing to those perfect sunset beats. Right past the Power Plant Stage was a docked paddleboat, the VIP S.S. Buku. It’s tall vertical exhaust stacks were dressed in black costumes mimicking those of the electronic Blu cigarettes, smoke emitting and all. One thing that’s certainly a staple at all fests are the tabacco industry. Interestingly I think this was this fest that confirmed for me that those dirty, smoky, cumbersome cigarettes are out and electronic is now the way. A kid came up to us and opened his backpack ready to sling us his homemade oils and solutions 5 minutes later. Call me old-school, but I was intrigued and took his card. I wasn’t cool enough to make it on the S.S. but I certainly heard that a local talent Boyfriend 69 played one hell of a show.
As we veered past the Ballroom, the scene took a dive towards urban, “gangsta” vibes. Straight ahead was a bold, beautiful wall boasting live action graffiti readying to be auctioned off at the end of the fest. It was organized, well displayed and impressive. I love art and this art was worth every penny. The prices for some were as low as several hundred dollars and these pieces were like 10×20’. A scene like this next the flowing river waters was sweet and definitely a moment in our era that I savored. There were other arts for sale as well. Technicolor, highly saturated hats, tights, tapestries, and glasses galore. I was tempted to strip and go full on makeover but I decided to spend my money on booze and food instead. Note to self: if you’re going to New Orleans, you must remember – this is what they do. Well too. Just ask Lil Boosie, LA native, who was giving a triumphant return performance since his recent release from prison. After grabbing some grub, we headed to the float den, a warehouse where the traditional Mardi Gras floats are created and stored all year long. Remanants of the décor remained on the outskirts, but the space was now overflowing with lasers perfectly highlighting hundreds of jumping, moving, girating silhouettes. Zomboy was hittin it and an overall crowd pleaser where I was standing, but I had to hit up Portugal The Man as they’re all over my playlist at home. I headed to the Ballroom and was stoked to hear them play some of my favorite jams as well as some really fun covers. They’re cool, it’s true. Rounded out the rest of the evening with some Flosstradamus and Empire of the Sun.
@flosstradamus. Much Turnt. V fun. Wow. #BUKU2015 A photo posted by BUKU Music and Art Project (@thebukuproject) on
Round 2 on Saturday yielded most of the same crowd with the addition of more costumes. Unicorns, Robots, Globots, and who knows nots roamed about the crowd ready to rev it up. I enjoyed all of the above and once again considered a costume change. The weather was still rockin, a little cooler than Friday and a little greener too…. It was St. Patrick’s Day Parade time in New Orleans after all. While TV On The Radio was rocking out, an influx of green locals came pouring in. The energy leveled up. I felt it. All of this was leading up to one act though and it certainly made itself known without introduction needed. From across the festival I could hear it loud and clear – Bassnectar. All electronic music sounds the same, huh? No way in hell. My body felt the rhythm, the buildup, the blow out, the rush. They are royalty for a reason. Beaucoup thanks to Bassnectar as I wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfied without you.
Mind Blown Always, Cheria.