The second annual Buku Art + Music Project at Mardi Gras World did not disappoint, bursting at the seams with huge names and big crowds.
The only downfall of the festival was the three hour will-call line. If you plan on attending next year, be sure to get your ticket early. Other than that, Buku was exceptionally fun this year.
Walking in, I instantly heard the distinct sound of Flying Lotus coming from the Float Den. The Float Den was one of the main stages in a massive open warehouse with Mardi Gras floats surrounding the crowd. Flying Lotus was unique by the way he presented himself on stage; he didn’t place himself directly in front of the crowd. Instead, he was more off to the side, letting his light show go to work.
After I saw half of Flying Lotus’ show, I had to start walking over to the main stage, the Power Plant. Headliner, Kid Cudi, played the Power Plant and was a huge crowd-pleaser. Of course, he played all the songs that come to mind when you think of Kid Cudi, but I’m glad I got to see him live.
Fifteen minutes after Cudi played, we all walked back over to the Float Den to see DJ Zedd. I didn’t really want to see Zedd; it was more of just something to do until 1:30 when DJ Datsik would be closing the festival. With only thirty minutes of Zedd, a couple of friends and I decided to go camp out in the Ball Room and get a good spot for Datsik.
Once 1:30 a.m. rolled around, I was front row for Datsik. He remixed a lot of familiar songs, but also dropped a lot of new material that left everyone mind-blown. The Ball Room made the show sound even better, which included a ridiculous light show. Datsik went on for an extra twenty minutes, closing by remixing “Pretty Lights.”
The next day, we all woke up eager to get to the fest, but we knew we had time. We rolled up just in time for the first show I wanted to see of the day, Flosstradamus: a two man DJ set from Chicago. Playing in the Float Den, packed to the max, we stood somewhere around the middle. They played every song a fan could want to hear and were one of the best performances of the fest. Closing, they brought out Diplo, leader of Major Lazar, and preformed the infamous “Original Don” to end the set.
Instantly leaving the Float Den, I made my way to the Power Plant to see headliner Kendrick Lamar. Almost everybody at the festival was there to see the straight-out-of-Compton rapper perform his most recent album, along with some older hits. Unfortunately, artist Big Gigantic was playing in the Float Den at the same time, so I had to cut Kendrick’s show in half. Big Gigantic is a mix of hard EDM drops with the bold sound of brass instruments, making it an energetic, fun show.
The next headliner would have been a favorite to anyone who saw them. Passion Pit gave an unforgettable performance, mixing in new material with the old, but none of the bad. The band played the Power Plant at 8:45 p.m., and the stage was already filled at 7:30. They were up-beat the whole performance and just put everybody in the best mood possible.
After Passion Pit, STS9 played in the Float Den. I guess you could categorize STS9 as “electric,” but every person actually plays an instrument and doesn’t just stand behind a computer. The easy-going sounds of STS9 chilled the crowed out, but could instantly liven up the place with the change of a chord.
The final headliner to play the Power Plant was EDM sensation, Calvin Harris. I personally did not care to see him, but I’m glad I did. He had a lot of exciting beats and unexpected drops that had everyone in the crowed going insane.
With the festival coming closer to an end, Major Lazar played the ballroom at midnight. Major Lazar was easily the most crowd interactive DJ, getting people on stage to dance to the craziest of their abilities. To open the show, Diplo and Jillionaire came out in huge human hamster balls and surfed the crowd. It was the most crowded and hyped-up show of the festival. If you had a spot to witness the set, count yourself lucky.
To close the festivities, DJs Dillon Francis and Nero performed. Being a huge fan of Dillon Francis, I missed all of Nero’s set. Dillon Francis got everyone pumped up by opening with one of his bigger songs, “bootleg firework.” Not once did he slow down, keeping the intensity at an all-time high. Playing until they made him get off stage, I watched Dillon Francis bring an electric Buku Art + Music festival to an end.