Voodoo: A Magical First Experience

Fans crowd the main stage area to see Jack White: the last performance of the festival.

The highly anticipated, youth-oriented, annual music festival held in City Park in New Orleans, La., known as The Voodoo Experience has ended after having many excellent acts. This year’s “experience” was a first for me…and was magical indeed.

Looking forward to the event, the biggest mystery evident in my mind was which ticket level to purchase. The Voodoo Experience had many ticket options for various prices. For example, VIP tickets were available for the three day event for $500. These would grant the holder access to special VIP areas in front of certain stages and also access into the VIP area entitled “Loa Lounge.” Another option was general admission for the entire weekend, a steal at only $175. I was incredibly lucky and was given a special all-access pass to use on Sunday.

After arriving at the festival around noon, having never attending the festival before, I had no idea where to go first around the sprawling festival grounds. Eventually, after looking at a few maps, I found out where which shows were and at what time. There were about six stages, with each stage dedicated to a specific music genre. There was the main stage, and the only other stage area I attended was the electronic music stage.

Modestep, a British electronic performer, offers an electric performance on Sunday of Voodoo Fest.

At around three in the afternoon, I was wandering around the electronic stage when a rather intriguing musician was on stage. After checking my schedule, I realized this man goes by the name of Modestep. The music he was playing was very fascinating, a fusion of electronic, reggae, and rock. I enjoyed this show very much, and I have discovered a new artist because of this.

Once this show was over, I decided to go get food. After taking a short journey across the park to the food tents, I had no idea what to do. There were at least twenty different tents with food from different restaurants. It immediately came to my attention how expensive the food was. I eventually settled for a sandwich and was content.

Skrillex, the electronic musician, seemed to be the event many people were the most excited about. I was anticipating this show very much. I arrived at the electronic stage area around 45 minutes before the start of his show. After what felt like a very long time, the artist finally arrived and started playing his music. Everyone in the crowd went wild, including me. I was dancing, probably looking absolutely ridiculous; but then again, so was everyone.

Fans gather anticipating Jack White.

One thing I did not enjoy about attending the Skrillex show was the “crowd surfer” component. These idiots are picked up and are passed around the crowd. Initially, I thought it looked fun, but I returned from that cloud quite quickly after seeing at least ten people dropped on their heads.  I am fine with the idea of crowd surfing if you’re a relatively light person; but if you’re a 250-pound football quarterback, crowd surfing is absolutely wrong for you. It’s not even possible to count how many times I was kicked in the back of the head or almost knocked off of my feet because of a dumb person approaching me via crowd wave from behind.

Another thing I find relatively pointless is what is known as a “mosh pit.” This is basically a circle that forms in the crowd, and in this circle a few people dance around and push each other around. It is not evident whatsoever to me why this is necessary or even fun. It did not look fun to me to be pushed around roughly while attending an electronic show. It was interesting to me to hear the artist Modestep encouraging people to do this. Thankfully, since the Skrillex show was so crowded, these idiot pits, as I like to call them, were not there.

After cooling down from that scenario—literally, since it was around fifty degrees outside at this point– I walked over to the main stage to go see Jack White. I went into the Loa Lounge and from there, walked to the front row VIP area for this show. Jack White is an amazing guitarist and also, quite frankly, a great performer. This was the last show of the festival, so it was very crowded. Since I was in the VIP area, it did not seem too bad.

Jack White’s performance ends the three day festival.

After attending The Voodoo Experience for the first time, I have a few observations. If you plan to attend in the future, a backpack is a must. I had to carry around one of those bags given out by promoters at the festival. Also, bring a picnic blanket. Having to sit on the ground is blatantly unappealing, especially after the festival has been going on for a few days. Make sure to bring cash and, if possible, a debit card. I ran out of cash midway through my day because I was not anticipating the ridiculous price of food. Thankfully, I had my debit card and made a quick trip to the ATM to get some extra cash.

Another rather important suggestion I have is to wear an interesting outfit. A major element in attending the Voodoo Experience is what you wear. Many people wear costumes and fun outfits. Personally, I wore a jacket that has an American flag print and after being asked about ten times where I purchased it, I considered my outfit a success.

Most importantly, consider the ticket prices. First of all, look at the lineup and see if anyone you are seriously interested in is performing. I had VIP access. If I paid for it, I probably would not have been ecstatic about forking out that much money for so few benefits. Other than the exclusive food and bathroom privileges, I think paying $500 for VIP is not needed. If you arrive early enough to the show you want to see, you will have a good spot. For example, at Jack White, I was in the VIP area, and about ten feet behind me were the people with general admission. Due to a mishap with my pass not working properly at the electronic stage, I stood in the regular audience area. It was fine being in the general admission area. I probably had more fun being amidst the people in the regular area than I would at the VIP area.   I strongly suggest purchasing the three-day general admission pass for $175 because compared to VIP, there is not much difference between the two.

Going to The Voodoo Experience is truly an amazing opportunity, and I strongly suggest attending it for years to come.

[For an in-depth look at the entire weekend, see related article by Logan Lindrop.]

[photo credit: James Carrere]

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