BUKU Music + Art Project is a music and art festival in New Orleans that takes place at Mardi Gras World, where many of the Mardi Gras floats created by Kern Studios are stored. This adds a surreal quality to the festival, which meshes well with the electronic dance music performed there. While EDM is the primary music genre at BUKU, the festival also includes indie rock, hip hop, and other hybrid music styles.
Some of the better known acts at BUKU 2016 include Pretty Lights, Kid Cudi CHVRCHΞS, Miike Snow, Griz, and Above & Beyond. The festival has only been around for five years, but the event sold out, and there were over 30,000 people in attendance according to the festival’s estimates.
Based on other festival coverage I’ve done (like the New Orleans Film Festival and the Twisted Oak Music Festival) I was given the opportunity to do media coverage for BUKU. At first I was apprehensive since I don’t know a lot about EDM, but then I noticed that some bands I recognized were playing there.
I decided that doing media coverage for the festival could be a good opportunity to learn more about EDM and some of the related genres that have grown popular in recent years. To prepare for the festival, I talked to some music enthusiasts who were well versed in the electronic music scene and listened to some BUKU-related playlists.
I attended both days of BUKU and saw as many performances as my schedule would allow. At the festival, I interviewed
- Donovan Wolfington
- Fro-Yo Ma
- DJ Soul Sister
- Taylor Guarisco from the Givers
DJ Soul Sister during her set at BUKU
Some of the topics that came up include: mixing musical genres, audience interactions, drug use, and how to have better collaborations with other artists. After the interviews, I share my festival impressions and some of my experiences while attending.
Prior to BUKU, I had some things on my mind, and they stayed with me throughout the festival. In short, I was wondering if it was possible to find answers to some of the bigger questions while surrounded by all the noise and flashing lights.
I address some of those questions in the episode, which turned it into one of the more personal episodes I’ve recorded.
Listen to the Episode
In addition to musicians and venues, I also photographed some of the outfits that caught my eye.
Here’s an example:
If you’re curious, you can see more of my BUKU photos on Instagram.