This past weekend marked a very important day for me: my 21st birthday. It also marked the third annual BUKU Music + Art Project in New Orleans, La. While many celebrate this momentous birthday wandering around Bourbon Street or hitting the casinos for the first time, I was able to engulf myself in music, art and truly exceptional people.
As an electronic dance music (EDM) festival, BUKU typically offers a wide variety of DJs and rappers. But this year, they also added some rock artists as well as some local groups. Ellie Goulding and David Guetta served as the headliners for this two-day event. BUKU also brought in some other favorites such as the Flaming Lips, Kaskade, Sleigh Bells and ZEDD.
A very close friend of mine, Carlie Dikes worked as the BUKU ambassador for the Mississippi region. Dikes is a senior marketing major at USM. A veteran of the music festival, she has seen it transform over the years.
“BUKU really branched out this year,” Dikes said. “They are really trying to grasp the beauty of New Orleans by adding a small village that has local artists show-casing their work, and local DJs playing in the village. I think this is a really cool concept.”
For me, three shows stood out over the whole weekend: Baauer B2B RL Grime, Beats Antique and Glitch Mob. All three of these shows brought something recognizable to the table and to me.
Baauer and RL Grime really stuck out to me because honestly, I had never experienced anything like that in my life. I scored a spot in the center of the sweat and disarray. To my left, I had people moshing and to my right, I had people grinding and dancing their faces off. These two DJs mixed some of the loudest beats I have ever heard with some of today’s top hits as well as top hits of years past.
When the lineup was announced, Beats Antique was one of the shows I was really looking forward to seeing. Their music transports you to another place and time with their electric and tribal mixes. They also put on a show so creative and dimensional that I almost felt as if it wasn’t real. They wore costumes, used a variety of colors and lights and linked their music with dance. One of the grander parts of this trio is Zoe. Zoe dresses in lavish costumes and puts her years of dance training to work as she moves to their music and captivates the audience.
And last but not least, Glitch Mob brought down the house in the Float Den Saturday night as the festival came to a close. They used large controllers resembling drums and gongs to create a finale like no other.
They clothed themselves in dark leather costumes that gave them a dynamic stage presence. Because of the size of BUKU, reaching an audience of only about 14,000, it was fairly easy for me to weasel my way toward the front right for this show. I never once stopped moving; and honestly, I think my mouth was wide-open in awe at what I was watching the entire time.
The BUKU Music + Art Project not only offers an epic lineup but also showcases live street art, fire dancers, men and women clad in paint and costumes on stilts and of course, a crowd of people from different backgrounds.
My favorite part of the weekend was watching the live graffiti art. The artists captured the beauty of New Orleans along with the vibrant characters of the festival. It was truly inspiring to watch.
BUKU allows for the people of New Orleans to share their culture with a mass amount of people.
It’s not commercialized, you can dance as weird and off rhythm as you want and you get the opportunity to meet people from every walk of life.
“BUKU is a different breed of festival and it takes a different breed of person to really enjoy a EDM festival,” Dikes said.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Until next year, BUKU!