Students get the inside scoop on Voodoo

The Lion’s Roar / Megan Ferrando and Heather Jewell
Guitarist of Grizfolk Brendan James (top) encourages the audience to sing and dance along to their hit “The Struggle.” Near the electronic stage, one festival goer dresses as a dog (middle), which was only one of many costumes that stood out among the crowd. John-Michael Early of Flow Tribe (above) dresses up in colorful attire among other members of the New Orleans band.

New Orleans is known for its vibrant music and art life. The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is one such that encapsulates the vibe of New Orleans and offers festival goers the opportunity to be whoever they want to be without fear of judgment. 

Voodoo was located in the New Orleans City Park and took place from October 30 to November 1.

Voodoo’s slogan, “Worship the Music,” is one festival goers abide by. Dressed in elaborate costumes, attendees roam the festival grounds, letting loose in front of the stage and embracing the sound of both small and big-name bands. 

“The thing I like about Voodoo is that everything is acceptable here,” said local college student Jeffrey Powers. “No matter what you wear, the costumes you have for Halloween, your attitude, everybody here has a positive attitude. They’re here for the same reason. Just to have a good time and enjoy the music.” 

The vibrant R&B, funk, rock band Flow Tribe tried to give the audience exactly this. New Orleans natives Flow Tribe are well known at music festivals in New Orleans such as Jazz Fest, and the band has played at Voodoo multiple times in the past. They were energetic performers, dressed in colorful attire and tried to bring excitement to those watching their show on Friday, October 30.

“This is a special place,” said guitarist of Flow Tribe Mario Palmisano. “It’s good to always be here in New Orleans. It’s a party. That’s what everyone comes here to do. You come here to have a good time and hopefully we can provide that for somebody.”

Palmisano expressed his view of Voodoo as an ideal place to be yourself and let loose.

“These are music lovers,” said Palmisano.  “These are the people that are willing to pay a premium because they believe in it. There’s a percentage of these people and then people who listen to music on the way to work and then the radio shuts off. Express yourself. This is the place to do it. This is the healthy type of expression to let it out. Everyone needs it.”

Many festival goers found ways to express themselves through costume, dance and more. The audience of Voodoo were mostly young adults, but also included a wide range of music lovers of all ages. 

“It’s a really great opportunity to play in front of a really diverse audience,” said lead singer of Flow Tribe K.C. O’Rorke. “There’s not just one type of person.”

Just as there is a diverse audience, the music of Voodoo is diverse. Attendees can hear anything from electronic to rap to classic rock.

“I love Voodoo because you can see so many types of music,” said fifth year festival goer from Canada Nancy Saimdon. “You can meet so many new friends and have so many new experiences. Above all else, it’s in New Orleans. What better place is there for a concert?”

Saimdon has been taking the long trip from Canada to New Orleans for the past five years due to her love for the festival. 

“One thing I noticed is they don’t have the small local stage anymore,” said Saimdon. “There are some local acts on the Carnival stage, but it’s hard to get that now.”

According to Saimdon and others, the local acts have been diminishing over the past years at Voodoo. For local rock band Bantam Foxes, receiving a spot at Voodoo was a huge milestone in their musical career.

“I grew up here and there were a lot more local bands the first couple of years,” said drummer and vocalist of Bantam Foxes Jared Marcell. “To know that the last couple of years they’ve been a little more selective with the local bands that make the cut, and really going out and trying to get the cream of the crop for the headliners and bigger bands on the smaller stages. For us to get picked out this year, I think says a lot about how far we’ve come over the last year. It was definitely a pat on the back that we got picked out this year.”

Bantam Foxes is made up of Marcell, and twins Collin McCabe and Sam McCabe.

The young band began while the McCabe brothers were attending school at Loyola. They expressed their time in school as a huge practice period and after graduation as a time of growth.

“Now we’re able to go on longer tours,” said Collin McCabe. “A lot of bands haven’t been able to get past their graduation and continue as the same band, and we managed to really break through that barrier and retain our credibility without getting lumped into this whole college band scene.”

On the same day as their performance at Voodoo on Friday, October 30, Bantam Foxes released a new EP titled “Loser.

“We decided a long time ago that we were going to call the one that came out today ‘Loser’ which is kind of funny because we are doing anything but losing today,” said Marcell.

Many other bands filled the stages on Friday and Saturday of the festival.

Friday, Modest Mouse and Florence + The Machine closed out the night on the main stage, creating an experience which many attendees expressed as unforgettable. Headliners Saturday included Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Angello, Jane’s Addiction and more. 

The final day of the festival was cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions. Headlining bands that were scheduled for Sunday, November 1 included Zac Brown Band, Deadmau5 and Third Eye Blind. 

Aside from music, attendees had many opportunities to explore the large variety of artwork, merchandise, interactive art installations and food that Voodoo had to offer. 

Although the poor weather caused a damper on the end of the Voodoo experience, the first two days of dance, food, music and more was one of pure excitement by many who attended the festival.

The Lion’s Roar / Megan Ferrando
uitarist of Flow Tribe (top) and lead singer (above) excited the crowd with their energetic performance Friday.

The Lion’s Roar / Megan Ferrando
Later that night, Modest Mouse (above middle) took the main stage. 

The Lion’s Roar / Megan Ferrando and Heather Jewell
Festival goers of all ages embraced the weekend with costume and dance.