After surviving some financial troubles in 2018, including the bankruptcy of Silver Wrapper Productions (the original producer of Hulaween), Hulaween is due to return to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida this October 24-27, 2019. The 4-day event has announced their phase 1 lineup, including artists like The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Anderson .Paak, Jason Isbell, Big Wild, Flying Lotus, Greensky Bluegrass, Jai Wolf, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Manic Focus, The Funk Hunters, CloZee, and many more.
A variety of ticket options, including 3 and 4 day General Admission, VIP, RV, and car camping are all available from the ticketing website.
(Pictured above: Ravenscoon Performing at 40oz Wonderland, Photo by @ramonsview)
Before electronic dance music took the world by storm in the 2010s, it was generally considered a niche genre in the US, far removed from the radio and generally associated with social outcasts. But as artists like Skrillex, Avicii, Calvin Harris, and Swedish House Mafia gained in popularity, electronic music pushed further into the mainstream to the point where pop music became almost synonymous with a certain variety of electronic dance music. Its influence is unmistakably everywhere: on the radio, in movie trailers, consumer product ads, the X Games, and even at this year’s Indy 500 Snake Pit. Ten years ago, the idea that bedroom DJs and producers would dominate and reshape the world of music was unthinkable. While that commercial brand of electronic music, typically labeled as EDM, is unavoidable in the pop world, an entire subcommunity of producers, DJs, artists, and fans exists deep in the realm of the internet, dripping in talent and possibility.
While it’s typically considered a necessity for artists to
distribute their music through as many online platforms as possible, like
Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, that’s not where you’ll discover this group
of independent artists. Instead, you’re more likely to discover these
underground artists on Reddit, Soundcloud, and in Facebook Groups, largely
untethered from the mainstream and removed from traditional label influence,
where a different set of rules exist. Prowling through these avenues is where
you’re likely to find Paul Conversano, better known by his stage name Ravenscoon.
Conversano, currently a San Francisco resident, had little
formal training, having only played the trumpet for two years in his elementary
and middle school years. Instead, he learned about music in the bustling scene
of Atlanta, where he is originally from: “I was born and raised in Atlanta. I
guess that’s where a lot of my inspiration and music tastes originally come
from. I grew up listening to everything from Sound Tribe Sector 9 to Gucci
Mane—completely opposite sides of the spectrum.” Although he was not a
traditional instrumentalist, Conversano’s depth in music knowledge is
impressive, which he attributes to his interest in the music and arts scene
from a young age:
“I’ve been messing around with music since I was a kid. I
collected CDs and even when I was like two or three years old, my Mom said when
I was at weddings I would run up to the DJ and request songs. So I’ve always
been into art and music and I just would share things that I like.”
In addition to his affinity for STS9 and Gucci Mane,
Conversano lists off a range of other styles and artists that influence him:
“Since I was a kid I’ve had a morbid fascination. I was into
death metal, grind core, emo, and punk music as soon as I first heard it. I
really loved the HEAVY stuff. Job for a Cowboy, Suicide Silence, As I Lay
Dying, and Old Bring Me The Horizon.
I made my Mom take me to the mall so I could go to Hot Topic
so I could buy all the black shirts that said shit like ‘I hate you’ and stuff.
She hated it. I was raised Roman Catholic, so it was a bit much for my Mom.”
He mentions that his first concert was Green Day on the
American Idiot Tour in 2004, which his Dad accompanied him to. “I always loved
anti-establishment music and music that got in your face.”
His preferences don’t just skew towards dark and heavy
music, however, explaining that while his peers in Georgia were listening to
country music, he was perusing Grooveshark.com and listening to trance artists
like Armin van Buuren. 2007 seems to be the year that really had a big impact
on him, as that’s when a friend’s sister introduced him to Bassnectar. He was
instantly hooked. Around that same time, he was discovering artists like Rusko,
Zeds Dead, and Pretty Lights, while exploring genres like early dubstep and
breaks. In 2010 he witnessed his first Bassnectar show at the Tabernacle in
Atlanta for New Year’s Eve, where face value tickets were selling for only
$15-20. Reminiscing on the show, he explains his excitement:
“I was super hooked. I had never seen anybody mix music like
that and I was like ‘fuck, I want to do that’ you know? I had never heard
anybody blending hip-hop, vocals, and bass music. I thought it was so cool.”
Attending his first Bassnectar show may have been the
catalyst for his music ambitions:
“Over time I started making my own mashups and stuff. I
think the mixing style is something that inspires me. There’s a couple of other
artists that I was also inspired by—like Nero, Minnesota, a lot of those guys
that were creating super rush bass music at the time. I want to say that
they’re my biggest inspirations and Bassnectar being one of them, but I don’t
want that to overshadow my music and what my sound is like. I think that’s
something that is difficult in the music scene—being inspired by something, but
not being a copy of it and making your own twist. Because everything is just a
twist on something else. Everything has been done before.”
As he started making his own mashups and remixes, he would
share his creations with friends, where he found encouragement to continue down
the music path:
“I eventually got more serious. I chose a name: Ravenscoon [an anagram of his last name]. I started uploading everything on the same Soundcloud. From there, it’s just really taken off. It really does help, especially being well connected in the bass music community and knowing a lot of people. I’ve been doing it for 10 years—going to shows and concerts. I guess I’m unashamed about showing people my music. I was never afraid to put myself out there. Tell me it’s bad. Tell me it’s good. I want to know what people think.”
A driving force of his popularity has been his mixes that he
curates, performs, records, and releases on Soundcloud, one of the more popular
ones being his Wrapped
in a Dream Mix. The mixes serve as an opportunity to display his
versatility, releasing mixes that focus on a theme, like Halloween, downtempo,
dreamtempo, heavy bass, and everything in between. They all feature a plethora
of song styles, acapellas, and mashups.
When it comes to creating mixes, he mentions that he
typically targets a specific energy: “Most of the time, I base the whole mix
around the first song and how the first song made me feel.” Once he gets the
first song in place, he says: “I look at it like putting a puzzle together. I
have that first piece and then I fill in the rest of the mix around it.”
He takes pride in his ability to mix things up:
“I’ve definitely been trying to showcase that I can do
different genres and that it doesn’t matter if it’s dubstep, trap, hybrid, or
weird bass or whatever they call it, or downtempo. I can do it and I can do it
well and I want to show people that. I also don’t want people to expect the
same thing from me all the time. … I want to do everything.”
When asked if he ever ran into legal issues due to his use
of acapellas, remixes, and mashups on Soundcloud, he explained that his first
Soundcloud account was just for fun: he was buying songs, downloading them,
mashing them up and uploading them to share with the world, with no ill intent
or profit motive. He uploaded a few mashed-up songs of a particular artist and
explains the issues that came as a result:
“At my fault, I didn’t properly credit him or ask permission. He reported my songs and my Soundcloud ended up getting deleted. He had messaged me first and asked me politely to take everything down. I hadn’t logged into my Soundcloud and seen the message, so I think he thought I was ignoring him. I was totally in the wrong. It was my fault. It was a learning lesson. I lost my Soundcloud. I had a couple of thousand followers. It was a wakeup call to do things the right way and be more original. That’s really when I got serious about what I was making and the project that I’m doing and making my own music. It was a good thing.”
Since then, he’s rebuilt his Soundcloud account, having just surpassed 3,000 followers. On top of that, he’s performed a number of live shows in 2018, including his debut performance in a national park on a beach in San Francisco, accessible via a mile and a half hike through the woods, culminating in a large staircase that winds down to a secluded beachfront. His friends help organize renegade parties; this one featured sound equipment, DJ tables, bonfires, and a crowd of about 50 people. They upped the ante a few weeks later when Bassnectar came to town for his September 2018 Be Interactive Charity event. Conversano and friends returned to the same secluded beach, where he was able to perform in front of a crowd of about 200 people. This gave him the confidence to play more live shows. With the help of his girlfriend, he created an email alias and started reaching out to promoters, eventually getting booked for a show in Denver at Your Mom’s House. He explains his experience in Denver and how things capitulated from there:
“Actually I was the headliner and ended up selling it out,
which was really cool to sellout my first headlining show and my first show at
a venue. After that, I started getting a bunch of offers to play shows. I
played 40oz Wonderland in
Orlando, which was a music festival. Super cool. There were a lot of
really awesome artists on the lineup, so being a part of that was great. I
played the pre-party
Bill for Bassnectar New Year’s Eve in Greensboro and then a week
later, turned around and flew back to Greensboro and played a show [Create
2 Year Anniversary] with TVBOO for the same
He recently signed with A 40oz Collective,
an independent label and collective based out of Orlando and has a mini tour
scheduled for later in the spring with dates and locations yet to be announced.
Prior to the tour, he will make an appearance at Bassnectar’s inaugural Deja Voom in Riveria Maya, Mexico, February
27-March 2, where he will have showcase his talents as one of twelve artists
selected for the opportunity to perform an Open Decks slot. He will also be
Motive Tour stop at
Aisle 5 in Atlanta on April 6, 2019, alongside Dofex Bos and Homemade
He balances all his tour activity and producing in addition
to his primary career (for now), where he works in digital advertising and
marketing. When asked how he balances his professional career with his artistic
ambitions, he responds:
“I just make time for myself. My girlfriend and I live
together. She works a lot at a restaurant, so when she’s not home, I’m working on
music. She works every Sunday so I work on my music for 8 hours. I get home
from work at 6PM and sometimes I’ll just work the rest of the night on music. I
just really have to fit it in where I can and when I can. … Sometimes I feel
inspired at work, so I’ll write little notes down about things I’m thinking or
songs that pop into my head. It’s definitely difficult but it’s necessary,
because San Francisco is so expensive and I’m not to a point where I can afford
to pay my bills off of music. But also it’s beneficial because I’m learning so
much about digital advertising and marketing that I can use that to help market
my art project Ravenscoon that I’m working on.”
After studying at college in South Carolina for his
bachelor’s degree in marketing, his work with CBS Media Company resulted in a
move to San Francisco, a change that he relished. He comments on how his experience
in South Carolina was a difficult time for him and that he had always wanted to
live in California, so when the opportunity to move there for work presented
itself, he was onboard; the move “was definitely for work, but also like a
He describes the San Francisco arts scene as a great place
to stay motivated and inspired, having met a number of like-minded people who
balance professional careers while also sharing his affinity for the arts:
everyone from graphic designers to event producers, painters, and fulltime
“It’s just really inspiring and nice to be around people that are artistic and talented. And seeing the city—there’s so much art, there are murals all over the buildings everywhere, there are people playing music in the streets. Bands that tour all come through San Francisco because it’s a must-stop for everybody big and small. I’ve seen everybody from Korn to Mindset at Wormhole which is this small weekly bass music underground scene that’s in Oakland every Wednesday. … It pushes me to want to express everything that I’ve been feeling and drawing inspiration from.”
Conversano’s personal, professional, and artistic journey
has brought him to a point of critical mass, where he’s ready to release his
first EP of all original music: Beautiful
Chaos. The EP consists of six songs, including two that have already been released
as singles: Moon Theory, Accelerated
Mortality, Broken Flowers, Beautiful Chaos, Slime Time, and Déjà Rêvé. He
makes note of some of the tempos and styles of his songs: Slime Time is a slow
120 BPM “weird trappy bass” song, Accelerated Mortality is 175 BPM “halftime
drum & bass with nasty growls,” Déjà Rêvé was inspired by his experience
with dreams and night terrors as a child, and some of the other songs are slow
and melodic 140 BPM dubstep tunes. With an opportunity to get an advance peek
at his track “Moon Theory,” Conversano’s trance influence is clear: the track “starts
off at 130 BPM with some arpeggios,” which give way to trance beats, eventually
kicking up the tempo to 136 BPM and culminating in a melodic dubstep drop, with
the remainder of the song weaving between trance and dubstep styles. The track
feels like a nod to an earlier era of music, where juxtaposition of heavy and
beautiful sonic exploration took precedence over the pressure of fan influence
to create the loudest and heaviest noises possible.
Conversano works closely with his friend Ariel, a
professional mixing and mastering engineer who is based out of Miami and goes
by the name of Andrumeda Music.
Conversano comments on his importance:
“He’s pretty much taught me everything I know about production. We’ve been going through the songs after I create them and the original idea is done. We break it down. He gives me feedback on the different sounds. Then he does the mastering work. … The mastering and mixing work that Ariel does is instrumental to me. I think everybody should have a great engineer that they work with.”
The EP is mostly finished, aside from some mastering work that still needs to be done. In addition to the music, each song has companion cover artwork that was created by Conversano’s friend Joe Hickey at DRIP Graphics. He originally planned to have separate artists create cover art for each track, but after Conversano got a look at some of DRIP’s designs, he liked them so much that he commissioned him to create cover art for each song, plus the album cover. In addition to the album cover, DRIP recently finished up the official Ravenscoon logo, which sports a pentagram overlaid with Baphomet—The Goat of Mendes, a nod to Conversano’s previously mentioned “morbid fascination.”
The official release date of the album is to be determined,
but expected at the end of February. The Ravenscoon platform of choice is Soundcloud,
however the album will be available on all major music platforms: Apple Music,
Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, and approximately 50 other online music
As the conversation with the mastermind behind Ravenscoon
came to an end, he had these words to share: “If you like what I’m doing, tell
your friends. I really appreciate everybody’s support so far. It’s just getting
started. There’s so much more to come.”
Imagine Music Festival, hosted by Iris Presents at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, went all out for their 5th anniversary this past September 21-23, 2018, featuring some of the most popular artists in the electronic music world. The Oceania Stage featured a slew of artists like Bassnectar, RL Grime, Zeds Dead, Kaskade, Galantis, Adventure Club, The Glitch Mob. The Amazonia Stage stayed true to its roots, hosting a variety of electronic fusion and jam bands like Griz, Zhu, Jai Wolf, Cashmere Cat, Shpongle, Eoto, and Lotus. Meanwhile, the Disco Inferno Stage featured some heavy-hitting bass artists on the first night, like Joker, Koan Sound, Shlump, Noisia, Boogie T B2B Squnto, before switching up to primarily House music on Saturday and Sunday nights. Disco Inferno played host to Green Velvet’s Lalaland on Saturday night, joined by Tiga, Walker & Royce, and Latmun. Sunday night was witness to Oliver Helden’s Heldeep Records takeover accompanied by Chocolate Puma, EDX, and Wax Motif. A slew of other artists filled in the gaps throughout the weekend, ranging from all sorts of genres like Trance, House, Dubstep, Freeform Bass, Drum & Bass, Electro Funk, and everything in between, including a silent disco that hosted artists late into the night when the main stages ended for the night.
Jai Wolf Performing at the Amazonia Stage at Imagine 2018
In its fifth year, Imagine made some noteworthy changes to the stage and visual design. The Oceania Stage got a significant facelift with the help of Algorhythm Designs. The new design featured a wide footprint with an aquatic theme, complete with sea-creature-themed dancers and performers, some of which performed from raised half-dome shaped pools on either ends of the stage. Because of the cost of the enormity of the 5th anniversary lineup, Imagine scaled back the scope of other stages, like Disco Inferno, Amazonia, and Aeria. The Disco Inferno Stage still featured stage design and pyrotechnics courtesy of Incendia, although on a smaller scale compared to last year. Similarly, the Amazonia Stage looked more like the design from 2016 than 2017, although still staying true to its Amazon-jungle theme with vines and foliage draped above the stage. Additionally, there was a smaller presence of live painters and artists that often painted in the vicinity of the various stages. While the toned-down scale of the stage design was a bit of an adjustment, many would argue that it was a worthwhile tradeoff, considering the depth of talent of musicians and artists booked for the weekend.
It looks like Imagine wanted to bring out the big guns for their fifth anniversary. From a music standpoint, they succeeded on that front. After that banger of a musical performance, it could be worthwhile to change things up and see what Imagine would look like in the future with a little less money spent on pricey headlining artists, while reinvesting that money into unique stage designs, art installations, and up-and-coming musicians and artists.
Atlanta, GA – Dropping a first phase lineup that set the festival world abuzz, the 5th Anniversary edition of Imagine Music Festival has released the full roster of performers for its 2018 event, which returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia on September 21st through 23rd. Once viewed as a burgeoning new festival filling a void in the Southeast, Imagine Music Festival has positioned itself as one of the nation’s most anticipated electronic dance music events, as well as one of the last remaining of the independent festivals. Joining previously announced headliners: Armin Van Buuren; Alesso; Galantis; RL Grime; and Zeds Dead will be Bassnectar and Kaskade. And, special guests The Glitch Mob and Getter will be joining Adventure Club on the Oceania Stage.
Additional new artists to the lineup include: Green Velvet presents: La La Land; Latmun; Tiga; Boogie T & Squnto; DJSS; Yheti b2b Toadface; Kenneth Thomas; Weiss; Andy Bruh; Laser Assassins; Mantis; and NOA|AON, as well as local talent: Alex Lucas; Babey Drew; Heyz; Lost Seekers; Vivid; Zen Selekta and over 70 other artists. Additional music blocks will be provided by: Tech This Out Cru; Bass Family Block; Bel Air; Torch x Elevate; Native Groove Block; Afro Acid Takeover; and Atlanta Trance Family.
Featuring four main stages, Imagine’s immersive aquatic fairytale will permeate the grounds of Atlanta Motor Speedway – from the infield to deep into the early morning in the camping areas. Previously announced artists on the 2018 performer lineup include: Headliners: Armin Van Buuren; Alesso; Galantis; RL Grime, Zeds Dead and special guest: Adventure Club. Oceania Stage: 12th Planet; Bear Grillz; Liquid Stranger; Riot Ten; Zaxx; Eddie Gold; Kevin Flum; Leah Culver; Midnite Panda; Ra; and Sunday Service. Amazonia Stage: GRiZ; ZHU; Cashmere Cat; Shpongle (Simon Posford DJ set); Ekali; Eoto; Lotus; Jai Wolf; SunSquabi; Higher Learning; Juju Beats; Levitation Jones; Protohype and Zen Selekta. Disco Inferno Stage: Green Velvet; Oliver Heldens; special guest: Noisia; Chocolate Puma; EDX; Joker; Koan Sound; Shlump; Walker & Royce; Wax Motif; Afro Acid Block, with: Salah Ananse and DJ Kemit; Ariel; Exit 9; Halogen; Ployd; and White Rhino. Aeria Stage: Paul Oakenfold; Gabriel Dresden; DJ Dara; IVY Lab; Bryson Taylor; and DaddyDough.
Flames go off at the Disco Inferno stage as The Funk Hunters perform
“Topping the prior year’s lineup has undoubtedly become a bigger challenge each year,” says Iris Presents founders Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand. “Through many special requests, our fans and the Imagine Family have helped to curate another dream lineup. Our fan support has been an integral part in the festival’s growth and we cannot wait to welcome you all back for our best year yet.”
Returning to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a third straight year this September 21-23, 2018, with early admission available on Thursday, Imagine continues to grow into the expansive venue further embracing the aquatic theme that runs throughout. Never ones to rest on their laurels, Imagine will be presenting fans with increased upgrades, based on feedback from its 2017 attendees. Imagine will continue to improve on the guest experience with more camping activities and services, additional entry and exits gates, improved VIP area, more custom stage designs and overall improvements to the site that will create better flow and shorter wait times. Throughout the aquatic wonderland there will be no shortage of aquatic creatures, dancers, cirque acts, art, workshops, the return of the Imagine pool and, of course, an even bigger and better lineup. As one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals, Imagine creates an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more.
Tickets are available now starting at $219 for a 3-day pass and $285 for a 3-day pass with camping. VIP passes with express entry into festival, exclusive viewing areas, VIP bars and lounges, and private air-conditioned VIP trailer restrooms start at $360 for a 3-day pass and $479 with a 3-day pass with camping. Several lodging packages are available, including GA Camping, VIP Camping, RV Camping, Unity Travel Qube village and Hotels. Payment plans are available for a downpayment as low as $66.55, where fans can elect for four low monthly installments. Tickets are available online at www.imaginefestival.com. Imagine Music Festival is an 18 and over event.
Pictured above: Bassnectar at the Power Plant stage at BUKU 2018
These days, you could be forgiven for looking at a festival lineup and confusing it with another festival, as the market becomes saturated with festivals, with each one trying to out-gun the others with massive lineups pulling in slews of headlining artists. As a result, some festivals end up booking many of the same artists as their peers. However, it’s beyond the music that really makes or breaks a festival; the little things that add flare and make a festival truly shine, like set and setting, art installations, location, environment, and the community of people that pull together to make it all happen.
BUKU Music + Art Project is a two day festival taking place at Mardi Gras World, along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, LA, which took place this past March 9-10, 2018. While the festival is often lumped in the same category as other EDM festivals, the BUKrewe always manage to pull together a healthy mix of musical variety, ranging from heavy bass artists like Bassnectar, Rezz, and Snails, to hip-hop and R&B artists Flatbush Zombies and Sza, house artists Green Velvet and Bonobo, and everything in between. While the music in and of itself is a joy, it’s the artistic extras that provide an immersive environment, creating a seamless experience as attendants move from stage to stage and explore the BUKulture.
Raven Much of the BUKU production can be attributed to Raven, a New Orleans-based audio/video vendor that “cultivates a boutique design” for events that they work. The face of the company includes partners Chris Berends and Melinda Cohen, with president James Dufrene playing a more behind-the-scenes role, Marco Apostolico and Will Nemitoff working fabrication, and Jason Starkey and Ben Lewis in charge of production. The company is divided into different departments of Design, consisting of Chris, Melinda, and other architects, and Production, which is responsible for the stages and fabrication.
VIP Viewing Area built by Raven at BUKU 2018
Raven has been around since 2009, with the artistic aspect having been around for about seven years. The company does sponsorship activations for Electric Daisy Carnival, Hangout Festival, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and Voodoo Festival. However, the festival Raven contributes the most to is BUKU. As Chris explains, “We actually met as partners at BUKU in the first couple of years. So our company is almost kind of constructed by the beginning of BUKU.” Expanding on that, “I was a street team member for Winter Circle when I was in college. When they said they were going to do a music festival, I pulled together a group of architecture students and we built some of the art installations for them and it kind of just capitulated from there.” For Raven’s contributions to BUKU, Chris explains:
“For the past seven years, we’ve been designing art installations for BUKU. All the art installations that you see on site, from the totems on the Wharf Stage, to Fort BUKU, the stars out in the field, the tree, all of those are built in our shop. Our team designed them. We also designed the Float Den Stage, the Wharf Stage, previously the Back Alley Stage and provide A/V solutions for a number of the different stages and components. We also started the Graffiti Gallery in year three.”
Many in the Raven crew came from architectural backgrounds, like Chris, who worked internships, but felt that he “had been beaten down by the corporate feel of a lot of architecture firms. It’s pretty depressing. Music festivals gave us an avenue to explore more of the fun side of architecture and build things like the stars and stuff.” Melinda adds that the exciting thing about music festivals, compared to traditional architecture work, is the pace of projects and modular design. Festival projects work on a much faster schedule, so that a design could go from inception to fabrication at a festival in a matter of weeks. On top of that is the extra consideration of mobility. As Chris points out, “It’s a different way of thinking about everything. Everything has to disassemble quickly and reassemble quickly.” The fast pace makes for long days, as in the case of BUKU teardown, a process which must be completed in 48 hours; the festival ends Saturday March 10 (technically Sunday, with the last stage closing at 1AM), and the site must be cleared by Monday night. Raven starts dissembling immediately after BUKU, running multiple teams 24-hours a day for two days; as soon as the festival ends, crews are already working on teardown.
NOLA Projection Mapped Art Installation The art installations at BUKU are a significant feature that drive the intimacy of the festival, serving as interactive installations throughout the venue. One of the recognizable installations are the NOLA letters, naturally representing the host city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Located outside the Ballroom entrance, near the Mississippi River, the installation uses light projection mapping to illuminate the letters and the area, and often serves as the backdrop for group photos of passers-by. And for much of the weekend, a local band, New Thousand, served their “cinematic booty-shakin’ music” just steps away, pulling in crowds with their violin-infused music.
The NOLA art installation is a solo art project and the creation of Brennan Steele, a New Orleans local. After attending architecture school, Brennan dove into the world of festival art in 2012. He uses his architecture background as a foundation for art projects; it allows him to first design projects on a computer and then fabricate the final work with a solid blueprint.
NOLA Projection Mapped Art Installation by Brennan Steele
Currently, art installations serve as a side project for Brennan, but he mentions that he would like to do more of them: “Art installations are something I do on the side. They are a great way for me to develop new techniques and concepts outside of my day job, which has led me to doing commissions, like a small art cart for Burning Man this year.” When he’s not working on festival art installations, he’s working in his company’s studio: “Day-to-day I’m a float designer, and I make Mardi Gras floats for a living. I operate a giant KUKA robotic arm that sculpts props out of styrofoam.”
Brennan’s creations have made appearances at other festivals, like LUNA Fete, a festival that showcases light-based art, like projection mapping and LED art. However, BUKU is a natural draw for Brennan, as the festival takes place at his place of work. He elaborates:
“BUKU’s festival grounds are at my place of work, Mardi Gras World, so it’s kind of hard for me to not be part of BUKU. Like right now we’re having this talk in my office, which is kind of nice because we’re having a bit of respite from the festival. I like doing art and this is one of the cooler festivals in town to do it.”
When asked about his artistic motivations, Brennan comments:
“I’m inspired by a lot of art that I see at other festivals, like Burning Man. I kind of reverse engineer it and figure out how I can do it on my own and in my own style. I like incorporating all sorts of technology, like projection mapping and computer aided design. The robot I operate opens all kinds of possibilities. Really just pushing the envelope and doing cool new stuff, learning all the different trades, and using all those trades to make unique experiences that people will enjoy.”
If fan enjoyment is something that drives Brennan, then he is succeeding, without a doubt. For the entirety of the festival, lines of people formed in front of his NOLA letters, waiting their turn to capture a memorable moment at the festival.
Mobile DJs The music never stops at BUKU. You can travel from stage to stage without an interruption in music, thanks in no small part to the mobile DJs, which include setups like a shopping cart and large tricycle decked out with lights, speakers, and DJs. That’s where guys like Graham Holly and Tatum Neill come in, two friends that operate the DJ Trike. The DJ Trike was built by Peter Stanley and is owned by the Organ Grinders, a New Orleans dancing troupe. For the entirety of BUKU, the DJ Trike is operated by Graham and Tatum. Graham got his start with mobile DJing on a shopping cart made by his friend Finn Stormo. It has 10” rubber tires on it, making it possible to traverse a variety of terrain, and it’s the same shopping cart still making the rounds at BUKU, inspired by Graham’s friend Mike Feduccia. As Graham notes, “It’s just kind of run in the family of friends to start doing this mobile DJ thing.”
After DJing on the shopping cart for some time, Graham got the opportunity to DJ on the tricycle, which holds four times the number of speakers. He enjoys it, because it’s “fun to roll up in the street and meet a bunch of people” and “have a bunch of people that don’t know you, just dancing with you and following you all evening,” the best parts being the “serendipitous moments” of running into someone he’s met before in a similar fashion. Describing the scene at BUKU, Graham explains: “at BUKU, it’s fun, people don’t expect it. Most of the time, right now, this year they’ve just been kind of passing by. We’ve had a couple of good moving dance parties, but it’s just something for in between. And we’re having a good time doing it.”
Graham doesn’t stick strictly to mobile DJing. He also followed in Brennan’s footsteps by working on art installations. For other festivals, Graham has built two effigies and participated in a deep-forest rave called Cinema Paradiso at the Louisiana Regional Burn called Engluf. There are multiple light projections in the woods with Graham stepping in as a DJ.
Graham’s effigy building methods stem from his visual effects career. After studying business in college, he later learned post-production visual effects in New York, which led to his work with Flame, a visual effects program, leading to his involvement with effigies and the Burning Man scene. As far as DJing goes, Graham picked up those skills by teaching himself, first using Serato, and then later adding in Pacemaker, an iPad toolset that allows him to DJ mobily, away from his equipment. It adds an extra feature to his performance, allowing him to more easily move around, similar to how a singer might use a wireless mic for extra mobility.
Regarding his involvement at BUKU, Graham notes that he enjoys the festival because BUKU draws a certain crowd of people specifically there for the music. He likes DJing in the streets, which is “what makes it so fun. This is like a concentrated version of Mardi Gras.”
His excitement in DJing comes from the authentic reactions he gets from others when they make a music connection, through curating and sharing. As Graham adds: “when people are pumped about what I’m playing and excited about a set I did, there’s a lot of dopamine released in the brain. It’s like one giant Instagram like. It’s nice to connect with people in that way.” He also adds that the connections he makes with others while DJing translate to confidence in the studio. Graham’s goal is to get more involved in music production, so the positive reactions from his listeners are reassurance that he’s working in the right direction. Of course, it also helps to have good peers. Graham points out:
“My buddy Tatum, he DJs with me, and he’s a great DJ too. He’s kind of why I started DJing, like one of the people in my life that was already doing it. We lived together in New York for a while and I would play with him every now and then. I just found a different way to do it. It’s nice that we can do that. We’ve been friends since we were toddlers basically. We grew up around the corner from each other, so it’s nice to be back in New Orleans from New York. Doing it in our hometown.”
Tatum Neill & Graham Holly with their DJ Trike at BUKU 2018
Bassnectar Ambassadors While Bassnectar Ambassadors are not exclusive to BUKU, any festival that books Bassnectar also invites the Bassnectar culture, which often includes Bassnectar Ambassadors. Ambassadors are part of an expansive network created and managed by the Bassnectar Crew, which includes groups like the Bass Network; the new community group Love Here; and Bassnectar Interactive, the new community organization that aims to “catalyze giving back to the world around us.”
Love Here is a Facebook community group created by the Bassnectar Crew as an experiment in positive interaction. The goals of the group are to “Celebrate what we enjoy,” “Share love & kindness” and “Nourish & enhance the Bassnectar Community & the world around us.” Love Here serves as an online sanctuary for Bassnectar fans and the general public to share their love, art, and charity with like-minded individuals. The group has been growing at a tremendous pace; started in early 2018, the group recorded about 7,000 members at the time of BUKU, increasing to currently over 10,500. The success of the group speaks to the eagerness the Bassnectar Community has to promote positive connections.
On a similar note, the Bassnectar Crew recently unveiled its newest community organization: Bassnectar Interactive. Although still in its infancy, expect to see Bassnectar Interactive serving as a platform for making a social impact through some of the social and political groups and campaigns that the Bassnectar Crew are passionate about.
Bassnectar Ambassadors at BUKU 2018, with Raven art installation in the background
Although Ambassadors are not specifically connected to Love Here or Bassnectar Interactive, there is a lot of overlap of people and goals between the two groups. Like many other features at BUKU, Ambassadors help make a large festival more intimate, while also promoting safety. It’s especially important for large events that Bassnectar is playing, where crowds can be as big as 10 to 20 thousand or more. They promote health and safety by passing out water, ear plugs, and checking in on attendees to ensure that people are in a good space and being mindful of themselves. Ambassadors are tasked with creating projects to contribute, which can include things like art projects, community service, creating connections, and making memories. They are present at every Bassnectar-produced event, like Bass Center and New Year’s Eve. When possible, they make appearances at festivals like BUKU.
Mindfulness of the community is particularly important when it comes to Ambassadors. One of the ways they strove for that goal at BUKU was their Power Plant Stage cleanup; after Bassnectar closed out the main Power Plant Stage on the last night, Ambassadors gathered volunteers to pick up trash and debris that accumulated during the day, ensuring to leave the festival grounds trash-free as they left. The community projects are a regular fixture of Ambassador involvement. Ambassadors reach out into their local communities outside of festivals; they’re encouraged to give back and participate in things like beach cleanups, homeless outreach, and more. The daily practice of looking out for others extends into their festival presence at BUKU, serving as friendly faces in the crowd.
BUKU does a great job of booking a unique and diverse set of artists, ranging from up-and-coming to sell-out headliners, with lots of room to explore in between. On top of that, however, BUKU cultivates a unique Kulture by populating the venue with a number of art installations, interactive environments, and mobile music. While the music in and of itself is great, the extras ensure that the BUKU experience is an immersive one.
Camp Bisco has announced a jam-packed 2018 lineup for July 12-14, 2018, featuring many Camp Bisco alumni, as well as new-comers ranging from jam bands to dubstep and everything in between. Naturally, The Disco Biscuits are headlining with six sets all weekend. Other artists include Bassnectar, Excision, Tipper, Bonobo (Live Band), Illenium, Lotus, STS9, Big Wild, and many more.
Camp Bisco is three-day camping festival at Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Camp Bisco does not offer car-side camping, so come prepared. They note:
“There is no car side camping at Camp Bisco. There is wagon service to get you from the camping parking lot/gear drop off area to the campgrounds and ability to have a vehicle drop your gear off as close as possible to your campsite. We provide a large number of shuttles, all-terrain golf carts and staff in order to make it the easiest camping experience possible on Montage Mountain. There is continuous, expeditious valet service throughout the weekend but we still encourage Camp Bisco campers to pack light and bring something with wheels to transport gear in (think utility cart, not a radio flyer).”
If you intend on camping, make sure to buy a camping bundle, as the default festival option is for the festival-only and does not grant access to the camping and RV grounds. Early-bird GA tickets are currently on sale for $169.50 for festival only or $209.50 with camping, taxes and fees not included. Early-bird VIP tickets are on sale for $399.50 for festival only or $439.50 with camping, taxes and fees not included. Additionally, there are also glamping options and a 3-installment plan available.
Just one weekend stands between us and BUKU Music + Art Project, which returns to Mardi Gras World this March 9-10, 2018 in New Orleans, LA. The festival continues on years of success as music and art exhibition on the banks of the Mississippi River, with a diverse hip-hop, dance, and funk lineup that features the likes of Bassnectar, Migos, MGMT, SZA, Porter Robinson’s side-project Virtual Self, and many more.
BUKU 2018 will feature some significant changes as the festival grows into its space. The Power Plant Stage, hosting the festival headliners, has been moved across the railroad tracks to accommodate a larger space. A new VIP Rooftop has been added, adjacent to the Power Plant Stage. A new Wharf Stage has been added along the Mississippi River, opposite of the VIP Back Alley Stage. The Wharf Stage will host all the artists that traditionally played on the Back Alley Stage in previous years. This year, the Back Alley Stage will be reserved for VIP only, as the VIP barge is no longer part of the festival. The Float Den will remain in the warehouse, generally featuring heavier bass artists, while the Ballroom will remain in its usual spot, hosting a mixture of funk and live music. On top of the main stages, there will be a Front Yard area, which will feature a local showcase of music and visual art, with an opportunity to bid on graffiti art. For more info, check out BUKU’s page detailing the stages.
A unique aspect of BUKU is the art curation and BUKULTURE. The festival features numerous art installations, art carts, and other eye candy around the festival. Take a step away from the stages and get immersed in BUKU’s world of art.
If you don’t get your fill at the festival itself, BUKU will be hosting a number of late night parties, starting Thursday and ending Sunday, featuring artists like Papa Roach, Boogie T & Russ Liquid, Borgore B2B 12th Planet, Ski Mask the Slump God, Truth, and many more.
Make sure to check out BUKU’s info page to stay updated with travel information, FAQs, and security information. Additionally, the full lineup and schedule are also available. A range of ticket options are still available, but selling quickly, so make sure to grab yours before it’s too late!
NEW ORLEANS, LA (January 17, 2018) – BUKU Music + Art Project today announced the final additions to the lineup for the annual festival, taking place on March 9-10, 2018 at Mardi Gras World in downtown New Orleans. Set across five unique stages, including the backdrop of an abandoned early 20th Century power plant and a warehouse featuring the city’s iconic Mardi Gras floats, the two-day event fuses a progressive and diverse musical lineup with live street art, custom-made industrial art installations and dozens of surprise “pop-up” performances. The Buku Music + Art Project is an 18+ event.
Artists joining the roster include: chart-topping Philly rapper Lil Uzi Vert; electronic producer Illenium bringing his full “Awake” production for a special live show; Montreal DJ and “vomit-step” pioneer Snails; Florida rapper and mixtape master Ski Mask The Slump God; Chicago rapper and poet Noname; synth-pop / R&B project Homeshake; Dirtybird house duo Walker & Royce; a B2B set from New Orleans DJs Nice Rack and Rusty Lazer; and exclusive VIP performances, hosted by Brownies & Lemonade and Space Yacht, featuring DROELOE, Melvv, Suicideyear, and a B2B set from electronic artists Eprom and Mad Zach; as well as a showcase curated by acclaimed local artist collective Pink Room Project.
The talent will join a previously announced lineup including: Bassnectar, Migos, MGMT, SZA, the U.S. festival debut of Porter Robinson’s project Virtual Self, A Day To Remember, Isaiah Rashad, Alison Wonderland, Rezz, Borgore, Sylvan Esso, Flatbush Zombies, Bonobo (DJ), Mura Masa, Ganja White Night + Boogie T, Little Dragon, Green Velvet and Jay Electronica to name a few. The complete list of performers can be found at http://thebukuproject.com/2018-lineup/.
A variety of ticket offerings and travel packages are currently available at www.thebukuproject.com/tickets. When purchasing tickets patrons should be mindful that BUKU is an 18+ event.
For additional information and to sign up to be the first to receive updates, including lineup + after-party announcements, ticketing, special offers and more, visit BUKU Music + Art Project on the following platforms: Web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
The 2018 BUKU Music + Art Project is presented by Winter Circle Productions, an AEG Presents company.
About Winter Circle Productions: Winter Circle Productions began in 2009 as an independent promotion and production house to attract music that its founders felt was missing from a post-Katrina New Orleans. Creator of Buku Music + Art Project and three-time recipient of the Offbeat Best Promoter Award, WCP is now positioned as one of the most trusted tastemakers on the Gulf Coast, having produced hundreds of shows across many musical genres in dozens of venues. In July 2015, WCP joined AEG Presents to form and run AEG Presents’ new Gulf Coast regional office. Notable developments for WCP in 2017 include taking over a lease at the 1,200 capacity Joy Theater in New Orleans and contracting with Day For Night in Houston to associate produce the festival. In addition to concert production, the members of WCP founded the Upbeat Academy Foundation, a non-profit organization providing New Orleans youth with opportunities to study hip-hop and dance music production.
About AEG Presents: AEG Presents, the live-entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG, is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance. AEG Presents is comprised of touring, festival, broadcast, merchandise and special event divisions, seventeen regional offices, and owns, operates or exclusively books thirty-five state-of-the-art venues. The current and recent concert tour roster includes artists such as Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Cher, Daughtry, Enrique Iglesias, J Cole, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Kenny Chesney, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, The WHO, Trey Songz and Juanes. The company is also currently producing residency shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart and Shania Twain and is the exclusive promoter at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. AEG Live is also the largest producer of music festivals in North America from the critically acclaimed Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
BUKU Music + Art Project today announced the second round of artists for the annual festival, taking place on March 9-10, 2018 at Mardi Gras World in downtown New Orleans. The final phase of talent additions will be revealed after the New Year. Inspired by the creative subculture of New Orleans, BUKU sits at the intersection of an underground warehouse party and major urban music festival. The two-day event fuses a progressive and diverse musical lineup with live street art, custom-made industrial art installations, local food vendors, and dozens of surprise “pop-up” performances.
The latest additions to the lineup of performers include: Atlanta hip-hop trio Migos; the U.S. festival debut of Virtual Self, Porter Robinson’s new alter ego; Florida pop-punk-emo-metal heroes A Day to Remember; genre-bending electronic artist Rezz; Swedish electronic-indie group Little Dragon; a DJ set by British DJ/producer Bonobo; an extended collaborative set with Ganja White + Boogie T featuring a set by each artist and a B2B set together; a rare performance by legendary hip hop lyricist/producer Jay Electronica; electronic artists Snakehips; Gryffin; and Jai Wolf; house and techno pioneer Green Velvet; rappers Rich The Kid and Famous Dex; Vegas rockers Falling in Reverse; New York hip hop artist Princes Nokia; singer/songwriter Elohim; Dutch electronic artist Spag Heddy; rising West Coast rapper Lil Xan; Los Angeles emo revivalists Emo Nite LA; electro funk group The Russ Liquid Test; Chicago multi-instrumentalist/composer Nnamdi Ogbonnaya; local artists New Thousand; AF the Naysayer x Yung Vul; KTRL. B2B RedBarrington; and KiddLove; and the previously announced Soulection showcase will feature Sango B2B ESTA. B2B The Whooligan.
BUKU has also revealed the first VIP-only performances including EDM DJ/producers Graves and Medasin; experimental producer Ducky; industrial tech DJ/producer BlackGummy, electro DJ Squnto and local DJ TVBOO; as well as showcases from local trendsetters Freewater, Church* and BUKU’s non-profit partner Upbeat Academy.
These artists will join a previously announced roster including:
Bassnectar; MGMT; SZA; Alison Wonderland; Isaiah Rashad; Sylvan Esso; Flatbush Zombies; Borgore; Mura Masa; Bishop Briggs; Hippie Sabotage; Smino; Honey Dijon; CloZee; Jade Cicada; Zack Villere; and Bouffant Bouffant. The full lineup can be found here.
General Admission, GA Plus, VIP 21+, VIP, TOO BUKU VIP 2-Day Passes and Travel Packages for all ticket types are on sale now. When purchasing tickets patrons should be mindful that BUKU is an 18+ event. More information on tickets and ticket pricing can be found at www.thebukuproject.com/tickets.
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival returns to Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida for its third year this March 1-5, 2018. The star-studded lineup includes headliners Arcade Fire, Bassnectar (two sets with a special full moon beach set), Halsey, and Travis Scott, as well as Khalid, Foster the People, Leon Bridges, The Flaming Lips, Zeds Dead, Slightly Stoopid, Tipper, Big Gigantic, STS9, Local Natives, Gramatik, Illenium, Blackbear, Thievery Corporation, Tycho, Sylvan Esso, Judah & The Lion, Kyle, Misterwives, Sofi Tukker, Magic!, Lettuce, Billie Eilish, Ganja White Night (Live Set) B2B Boogie T and Dirt Monkey, Jai Wolf, G Jones, Big Wild, Denzel Curry, Pouya, Quinn XCII, Allah-Las, Nightmares on Wax (Live Band), Twiddle, and many more. As usual, Okeechobee will feature a PoWoW! Superstar Mashup set, consisting of many of the aforementioned artists. This is just the first phase of artist announcements, so expect more artists to be announced in the coming months. A range of ticket options are currently available for purchase from the ticketing website.