Located in the heart of New Orleans, a city already renowned for its rich culture, art and music, it should be no surprise that Buku Music and Arts project puts on a lineup that showcases the best of the best. From emerging underground artists, to established ones currently touring arenas, and everything in between, buku has you covered.
Important to note, as the name suggests there was so much more to offer than just music. Its
From live graffiti artists, to dozens of food vendors, to drag – themed wrestling matches at the end of every day there is never a dull moment upon entering the fest grounds.
After not one but two years off due to the ongoing covid pandemic, BuKu is back just in time to celebrate its 10th year as a festival and with a weekend of sunny and high-of-75 weather I can really not think of a more perfect setting for a music festival.
The festival premiered a new layout this year, larger, more spread out and more stages than ever before. The Skyline Stage , which is appropriately named as the downtown New Orleans skyline can be seen in the background, and the Bridge Stage served as the two main stages hosting acts such as Trippie Redd, Porter Robinson, Tame Impala, Baby Keem, Kali Uchis and Glass Animals.
The Wharf and Ballroom stages showcased a majority of the EDM artists where you could see acts like Sullivan King, SVDDEN DEATH, Dom Dolla as well as rap artists Tierra Whack and Maxo Kream.
Several of the acts on the lineup had been slated to play the originally scheduled 2020 fest, and most notable of these is grammy award winner Tyler, the creator.
Coming from a festival focused on music , arts and culture I really cannot think of a better way to close the festival than Tyler who at just barely over 30 has not only already released 6 highly acclaimed albums , but two separate clothing brands, and a shoe deal with converse. Many of which could be seen throughout the crowds.
Tyler, who just released his 6th official studio album Call Me If You Get Lost , is currently on an arena tour of the same name featuring production that includes an actual 1920s Rolls Royce and boat that sits midway in the crowd and although the full production didn’t make it to the festival, the energy that Tyler brought to the stage more than made up for it.
The festival does a great job of spacing out sets and stages so that the flow of the crowd is never too much in any direction, but if one thing was clear on Saturday evening, it was that the very vast majority of attendees were there to see Tyler.
Between musical acts you will probably find yourself walking down the BuKu Bazaar, an area featuring multiple art installations, tarot readings, costume boutiques for plenty of photo ops and even a full service tattoo shop where attendees could get a quick festival / new orleans themed tattoo for anyone who really wants to permanently remember their festival experience.
One of the standout and seemingly most popular booths at the fest was New York based men’s cosmetics brand Faculty World, and yes, you heard that right.
Focused around “a new wave of masculinity” The brand wants to challenge the status quo, gender norms, and the everyday perception of what is “normal”
The brand’s booth, decorated in mirrors and LED walls, was offering free nail lacquer to any festival goers who wanted and could be seen throughout the crowd on men and women alike.
The Bazaar also featured booths from New Orleans nonprofit Upbeat academy foundation, which per their website is “ An after school music education program that empowers and inspires new orleans middle and high school students by providing access to the technology and tools used in the production and performance of hip hop, rap, R&B, dance and other genres.” – https://www.upbeatacademy.org/
Maybe the most notable, highest energy (and quite possibly loudest sets of the weekend was New Orleans very own hip hop duo $uicideboy$
Made up of cousins Ruby da Cherry and $crim, the duo was one of the acts originally set to play the 2020 fest before it and the following year were canceled due to Covid restrictions.
Playing towards the end of the day on Friday, a very eager, very large crowd gathered around waiting for the hometown heroes to take stage.
from the very first note of their opening song “paris.” That starts off with an eerie, ascending, instantly recognizable synth line that quickly turns to deafening 808 hits, all the way to their viral closing song “And to those i love thanks for sticking around” you could feel the energy coming off the crowd from beginning to end.
For the real committed festival goer, BuKu offers a series of shows that start at midnight, aptly named “BuKu Late” featuring some of the acts such as Alison Wonderland, Sullivan King , and Vince Staples all respectively performing their own shows.
I myself went the sleep route, but all of the late shows were sold out so it looks like I was in the minority here.
With a lineup featuring some of the most culturally relevant artists in the game right now, i think the question everyone at the festival, including myself now has is “How are they going to top this next year?”
10 years of BuKu festival and arts project down and I certainly can’t wait to see the next 10.
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