Halloween weekend in New Orleans was wet, really wet, but that didn't stop the party at least not until Sunday when Live Nation decided to cancel the last day of Voodoo Fest due to heavy rain, wind and flash flood warnings. Good news for patrons is that they are offering refunds for the last day of the festival.
I first attended this festival in 2011 and a lot has changed since then, it's now a much bigger show but one that still keeps some of those early endearing qualities. The food is still great, the talent diverse, the fans up for it (even in the rain) and the venue is on point.
New Orleans City Park is the perfect place for a festival, the old knotty trees, cool grassy patches and smaller layout create a relaxing environment that is easy to navigate. The only bummer is that this year the rains caused muddy patches and pools that made things a little more treacherous, especially for drunk people in complicated costumes. It's a sad site to see a grown man dressed as a robot laid out in the mud unable to right himself.
Opening day we arrived in the early evening to grab some dinner at some of the MANY incredible food vendors, from Dragos' famous charbroiled oysters to creole style pork sliders this is a festival foodie's dream.
As with all festivals, there is usually a crossover in acts that you want to see so sometimes you have to compromise and move out mid-set to catch the next act. We managed to catch Modest Mouse, Florence and The Machine, Alesso, Girl Talk and Jack U.
Much of the crowd were sporting costumes which made things even more fun because drunk people in costumes is always a good thing.
At Voodoo Fest you can actually navigate a good spot by the all he stages, even the main stage, so we managed to get a nice view for every performance. The standouts were definitely Florence and The Machine and Jack Ü, both bringing big reactions from the crowd to close off the night.
Florence and The Machine got into the spirit with full skull makeup while Jack Ü brought out a lifesize Febreeze bottle that did a little dance number with Diplo (you can't even make this shit up).
The only disappointment of the evening was Girl Talk, the mash-up thing just sounds so dated and played out that it just doesn't work anymore, at least not for me, oh well it will sound fresh to someone I suppose.
After watching Florence for a little while longer, we decided to avoid to the mass exodus and left about 20 mins early. Then we walked by the food booths again and the leaving early plan fell apart like SFX. More of Drago's charbroiled oysters, well worth it!
We managed to get on some random party bus that was headed back to the French Quarter so we could catch the ODEZA show after hours at The Joy Theater. Not a bad idea for a business, park your party bus outside the festival, charge $10 a head and offer up beer for five bucks.
Sidenote: The ODESZA show killed it, note to the Voodoo talent buyer book these guys at the next one.
Upon opening the curtains on Halloween morning one thing was for sure, something wicked this way comes. Dark storm clouds circled in the distance then seemed to break up with spots of sunlight only to regroup in nastier herds as the day wore on.
The weather held out until early evening and then the rain and wind kicked up making things a little tough.
We managed to find some cover by the trees during the worst bits and caught sets from Santigold, Giorgio Moroder, Peaches and a bit of Duke Dumont before pulling the rip chord and heading back to the quarter to see how the Halloween festivities were kicking off.
The rain definitely deflated some people's spirits, but the hardcore partiers just carried on wet, howling at the moon. Back in the quarter things were somewhat quieter than expected, nothing some Gumbo at Coops couldn't fix. There was always tomorrow and another full day of Voodoo to look forward to.
Day 3, Nope.
I received the email with the subject "Voodoo Fest Day 3 Canceled." Damn. It happens, but you are never going to be excited about it especially when it's Voodoo Fest in NOLA. Live Nation decided to halt the third day due to the heavy rain creating some hazardous conditions.
All in all a great trip to one of my favorite cities, lots of incredible music, food and spirits haunting every corner. There is no place I would rather be on All Hallow's Eve than New Orleans and Voodoo Fest.
Places NOT to miss:
Square Root - Restaurant in the Garden District with a great rooftop bar and hand-crafted small plates
Cochon Butcher - This is a must for meat lovers. Cochon brings their own elegant twists to NOLA style cooking. Make a reservation, it's always full.
Coops - The "Supreme" Jambalaya at this spot was recommended by our own Managing Editor, so we took him up on it. YES. It's everything you want Jambalaya to be.
Dragos - The chargrilled oysters will change your life