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Review: VooDoo Fest 2007


In 1999, VooDoo Music Experience founder Stephen Rehage had a dream: to bring together the people of New Orleans in celebration of the culture, the heritage, the arts, and the music native to Louisiana. Bands that headlined VooDoo Fest 1999 included Third Eye Blind, Ben Folds Five, Moby, The Roots, and Marvelous 3. The Festival, held at the Tad Gormley Stadium, attracted over 8,000 fans- a modest-sized crowd.
This year, VooDoo Fest celebrated its ninth anniversary in an array of music, fun, and Southern Comfort tents. Headlining bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, and DJ Tiesto attracted an estimated 150,000 fans over the course of the weekend.

Other popular weekend events included the Madcap Bingo! Parlour and their local bands and bohemian circus, a portable tattoo and body piercing parlor, prime Louisiana cuisine, the popular Preservation Hall Tent, and the Playstation Trailer where people could test-drive Playstation video games that haven't yet been released.

The three-day event was considered officially open Friday night when estranged Rage Against the Machine came together for a night of power-packed guitar riffs and amazing vocals when they opened with the popular, "Testify."

Saturday was filled with fun-filled acts such as Motion City Soundtrack, Coheed and Cambria, Smashing Pumpkins, and DJ Tiesto. During each act, the stages were surrounded by thousands of people, but the hilight of Saturday was late in the night when Smashing Pumpkins performed on the VooDoo Stage. Guitarist/vocalist Billy Corgan, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, and the new members of Smashing Pumpkins gave a memorable performance, refreshing the memories of the audience with age-old SP classics. Unfortunaely, though well-rehearsed, they seemed to race through their songs. The encore was full of energy as the Pumpkins revived CCR's "Born on the Bayou" and tore apart Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n Roll."

Immediately after Billy Corrigan waved goodbye, DJ Tiesto sent trance waves from the Playstation/Billboard.com Stage across the field. The light show and electronica beats made City Park the site of what seemed to be a VooDoo Rave.

Sunday was the day when all the screaming teenage girls came out to see their favorite bands. Cute is What We Aim For was scheduled to begin the day on the Playstation/Billboard.com Stage, but unfortunately cancelled their performance after the band's singer supposedly contracted laryngitis. Immediately following the bad news, Plain White T's opened on the VooDoo Stage. The Red Jumsuit Apparatus gave an amazing performance after the T's- they actually sounded better live than they do on their CDs, which is a rare but good quality for bands.

Later that day, the VooDoo Stage was surrounded by screaming girls wearing "I Love Pete Wentz" shirts, and long-time fans who love the band for the music and not just the physical attributes. The band played exceptionally well as the crowd sang alont to hits such as "Sugar, We're Goin' Down," "Grand Theft Autum," "Thanks for the Memories," and "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race." Fifteen minutes into their performance, bassist Pete Wentz wowed the crowds by jumping off a stack of speakers and suffered a broken ankle. He masked his pain and kept jumping around the rest of their hour-and-fifteen-minute set.

By midnight Sunday, the last of the headlining bands had finished, the throngs of screaming fans had calmed, and City Park was silent for the first time all weekend.