Buku Music + Art Project has officially established itself as New Orleans’ premier music festival and ups the ante in 2015 with a hand-selected lineup featuring the biggest names in pop, rock, hip-hop, and of course EDM. After attending the event in 2014, I vowed to return the next year to once again indulge in the best Nola has to offer.
It’s more than just the beats that drive roughly 10,000 people to attend Buku each year. Winter Circle Productions, HUKA Entertainment, and MCP Presents have crafted an avant-garde approach to the modern day music festival. This is most noticeable in the eclectic lineup each year, but also in the ever-present artwork, pop-up performances, local food options, and unparalleled venue.
As you approach each appropriately named stage, a very different vibe seems to take over. Upon entering Mardi Gras World, the Power Plant stage greets you with a towering presence and ominous backdrop of (you guessed it) a massive power plant. By day the mainstage plays the role of a great gathering spot for your group to recoup in hammock-drenched hangout spots and take advantage of a prime VIP viewing experience. By night the Power Plant stage guides you by lasers to the biggest performers of the fest and undeniably the biggest crowd.
Our Power Plant ‘Artist You Can’t Miss’ – and one of the most anticipated acts of Buku this year – will be taking over the Power Plant stage with their electronic-infused jam fest. STS9 will also be headlining night two of Buku Late – the official Buku after party series – alongside Hermitude at the newly renovated Joy Theater. Soundtribe has become a music festival staple and looks to administer a mesmerizing experience atop the Power Plant.
Continue your journey past the S.S. Blu-ku – the Blu eCigs sponsored and VIP Exclusive riverboat stage (lineup still to come) – and you’ll find yourself directly outside the Ballroom stage. Come March, this two story dance hall will host the biggest names in hip-hop and forward-thinking electronic music. If you’re looking to get the best viewing experience here, grab VIP tickets for the view up top or arrive early because the Ballroom is quick to fill up; especially when artists like Ghostface Killah, Boosie, Lil B, and Run The Jewels take the stage.
It’s hard to pick against the starstudded hip-hop lineup, but our ‘Artist You Can’t Miss’ in the Ballroom is the Glasglow producer Hudson Mohawke. When he’s not producing beats for Kanye’s GOOD Music, Hudson Mohawke can be found…well, pretty much everywhere. His 2014 anthem “Chimes” was featured on a recent Macbook Air commercial and his “Higher Ground” collab with Lunice under the TNGHT moniker was played in just about every DJ set for the last year. At Buku in 2014, we were treated with a b2b set by fellow LuckyMe affiliates RL Grime and Baauer, so if we can take anything from their stellar set we should also expect something jaw-dropping from Hudson Mohawke.
Take just a few steps outside the Ballroom and through the Bukulture Tent, you’ll find yourself peering into what has to be the most hyphy stage at Buku and one of the coolest set-ups I’ve seen at a fest. Upon entering you might feel like you’ve accidentally stumbled into a holding cell for Mardi Gras floats…oh wait…that’s exactly what it is. The Float Den is an aptly named stage immersed with a variety of very large Mardi Gras floats.
Electronic fans might refer to this place as heaven because the talent that will step on stage here have established names for themselves as some of the best in the game. Seattle-based duo ODESZA takes home our ‘Artist You Can’t Miss’ for the Float Den. After climbing out of relative obscurity, I’m not sure if many artists had a bigger year than ODESZA. From remixing Pretty Lights and ZHU to releasing their In Return album, ODESZA has become one of the most sought after artists in 2015. They infiltrated the blogosphere and broke into the festival circuit and show no signs of slowing. After seeing them twice last year, I can personally vouch that their intimate and downtempo live set will captivate the Float Den at Buku.
I wasn’t planning on saving the best for last, but progressing through the venue will eventually lead you to a tucked away spot elevated above the Mississippi river and shadowed by the beautiful Crescent City Connection bridge. It was here last year where music aficionados gathered to feast their ears upon some of the most talented song selectors of the event. Possibly going unnoticed by some, the Back Alley holds a special spot in my heart due to its downsized set up, epic view, and most importantly – room to dance.
2015 will be no exception to the immense talent that graced the decks in 2014. Among Jamie Jones, Benoit & Sergio, and Thomas Jack comes a b2b set for the ages. Dirtybird head honcho Justin Martin and the UK’s Eats Everything will come together to orchestrate a house-heavy set full of funk. If you want to know what to expect, these two artists collabed a year ago to produce the track “The Gettup.” Be prepared for new-wave tech-house influences and old school house vibes. You better bring your comfy shoes because these beats don’t stop.
Check out the full lineup sorted by stages below. Purchase tickets and travel packages here.