Voodoo Fest Brings Big Names to Crescent City
Fresh into its eleventh year running, the Voodoo Music Experience in City Park, New Orleans rocked into Halloween weekend with music, Louisiana cuisine, and SoCo tents. Voodoo Fest, as it's traditionally named, has played host to big names such as Green Day, Marilyn Manson, Fall Out Boy, R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins, and Lil Wayne. This year, Voodoo Fest perfected their line-up for the perfect Halloween weekend with over fifty bands, including Kiss, Eminem, Jane's Addiction, Brand New, All Time Low, and Widespread Panic.
The festival was considered officially open Friday night when Eminem rocked the Voodoo Main Stage, drawing thousands of onlookers and fans despite rain and heavy winds. His performance was nothing short of spectacular and the crowd could be heard singing his lyrics over the dozens of speakers lining the stage.
Friday's rain couldn't was away some of the festival's traditions- the Madcap Bingo! Parlor where you can see local bands and their bohemian circus; the portable tattoo shop where I got one last year; the dozens of vendors selling everything from voodoo dolls, jewelry, and artwork, to glass tobacco pipes and t-shirts; the popular Preservation Hall Tent; and the Playstation spot where people could test-drive Playstation video games that haven't yet been released.
The Halloween spirit was in full gear Saturday as thousands of festival-goers came out in their best costumes, despite ankle-deep mud from Friday's rain. The day opened early with local band From Legends to Nancy on the Voodoo Main stage and Fatter Than Albert on the Preservation Hall Stage. Their throngs of dedicated fans screamed in support and danced in the crowd along to the music. Their performances made for a great way to start the day.
Saturday afternoon was highlighted by Big Sam's Funky Nation, who performed at the WWOZ/SoCo Stage. For being a smaller band, there were hundreds at the stage, showing their support. Sam's performance was lively and energetic, and everyone splashed mud and danced through the hour that he played.
The highlight of the entire weekend was Saturday night, when Jane's Addiction and Kiss performed back-to-back on the Playstation/Billboard and Voodoo Main Stages. Jane's Addiction had, by far, the most energetic and entertaining performance of the entire weekend. Over the hour and a half they performed, they played all of their best-known pieces, jumped around onstage, featured half-naked dancers for a few songs, and had a crowd of costumed fans sing onstage with them. By the end of their set, the crowd was pumped up and ready for the end of the night: seeing Kiss on the Main stage.
When Jane's Addiction was finished, the lights from the Voodoo Main Stage came on, revealing a giant Kiss flag covering the entire front of the massive stage. After a few moments, the flag dropped, revealing Kiss in full costume and make-up. The crowd was jumping and singing along with Kiss for their entire show. The best feature of their show was the impressive fireworks display toward the end that matched up perfectly with the music being played. The fireworks display was so large that some weren't allowed to leave Voodoo until it was over because of safety reasons. It was definitely a night to remember.
Sunday calmed down and featured bands more younger-generation oriented, including Brand New, All Time Low, The Flaming Lips, and Lenny Kravitz. All gave excellent performances, but none could top the previous night's throw down.
Voodoo Fest 2009 was covered by Carmen Hattabaugh, Megan Foster, and I. We had access to the press tents, photo pits, and backstage areas to take photos and conduct interviews. We had a great time, and all of us would recommend that everyone needs to experience Voodoo at least twice.