Maybe the vibe resulted from placement at the end of the major music festival season, or perhaps it was a true reflection of the Big Easy lifestyle – in any case, New Orleans’ Voodoo Experience, held Nov. 1-3 in City Park across only four stages, felt like the most laid-back of this year’s multi-day events.
It was also one of the most diverse – continuing its tradition of mixing popular acts with NOLA locals – for better or for worse, depending on the day’s scheduling. Friday put Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Pearl Jam back-to-back on the main (Le Ritual) stage, which makes some sense after realizing that the latter acts are Seattle-based homies.
But Saturday had Paramore opening for Nine Inch Nails (loathing loomed large amongst the tirelessly waiting front ranks of NIN super-fans), and Sunday positioned Kid Rock before the Cure, creating a strange goth-versus-good ol’ boys hodgepodge in the evening’s final hours.
Yet, to the organizers’ credit, the eclectic blend above all reflected how the bash has set itself apart from other mainstream festivals while successfully extending the city’s Halloween tradition, year after year. As fest lineups and production elements have become increasingly homogenized over the last few years, Voodoo festival has learned to wear many masks.
And, for its 15th consecutive run – with music, local food, and art that evoked equal parts kickback and outrageous party – the event consistently delivered more treats than tricks.