In case you missed the dozens of Snapchat stories from this past weekend, Winter Circle Productions put on the annual BUKU Music and Arts Festival. The headliners included A$AP Rocky, Lana Del Rey, Excision, Dog Blood, Louis the Child, and a million EDM acts that you probably have never heard of. Welcome to my review of possibly the coolest two days of my life, and my attempt to convince you to attend next year (Voodoo Fest, you’re cancelled).
BUKU is held outdoors at Mardi Gras World, around four miles from Tulane’s campus. The festival is split up into two main “camps,” with the main-stage Power Plant being closest to the entrance, and the Wharf, Ballroom, and indoor Float Den being a short five-minute walk away. Food vendors are located conveniently near mainstage and “train” to the other stages. The crème de la crèm is e a wide array of porta-potties right next to food, and NO LINES. Quite possibly one of the largest selling points of this festival.
Having attended seven other festivals, one thing I really respect about BUKU is their attempt to stay “on genre” rather than put in top-selling acts. Each artist who performed fits the Rap/RnB/EDM/Indie Pop image that BUKU sells. Other large festivals like Voodoo chose to section their days to fit each genre, and many attendees feel like a three-day pass doesn’t match their musical preferences. Although tickets are expensive at $160 for two days, you know exactly what you are getting out of it.
This is the defining factor of BUKU: the overall vibe of the festival. Rather than feeling like you’re lost in a sea of substance heavy teenagers and bassheads, it has the respect and congeniality of a normal concert. This might be due to the PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect) crowd it attracts, but I’m here for it. One of the coolest aspects is its sustainability in art. BUKU had a crate filled with graffiti where you could go on top to watch shows at the Wharf, plenty of photo opportunities with recycled metal covered in art, and showcases for local artists to display their work. This festival truly felt like an expression of teen excitement and adoration for music. Of course, all festivals can feel like a corporate scheme at times; you have to make money somehow. But BUKU was designed for fans and people seeking an experience deeper than seeing Travis Scott jump around.
Is this a comprehensive review? No, but that’s because I’m still recovering from the amount of head banging I did. This is the type of festival where you want to go insane for the short time you’re there. Live life to the fullest, and bask in the beauty that is live music, art, and community. BUKU, thank you for reminding me why I love festivals and proving that this industry is more than an overpriced frat party.