Name: Voodoo Music and Art Experience
Dates: October 31st-November 2nd, 2014
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 40,000 (estimate)
Years Running: 15
Lineup: The Voodoo Experience lineup was a solid mix of major festival performers combined with a fun group of New-Orleans style musical acts. It flowed well and gave attendees plenty of options to explore.
Stages/Sound: The music viewing experience at Voodoo left much to be desired. The visual production on its five stages was acceptable, but the sound was a real problem. None of the stages had speaker towers, and too much sound bled from one stage to the next, which made it hard to focus on the music coming from the stage you were at. The biggest mistake was the lighting. The Ritual Stage and the Le Plur stage each had giant flood lights intended to help light the backstage area, but instead were pointed into the crowd’s eyes. This giant beam of light completely killed the festival magic that should happen when the sun goes down.
Art: For a festival that includes the word “art” in its name, I was shocked at the amount of art that was actually there. They had three nice art installations and a Voodoo sign, but live art or interactive art that the crowd helped create was nowhere to be seen.
Greening: This is normally the part of a review where I compliment the festival organizers on their attempt to be green. Instead, this where things will get ugly. Voodoo was the dirtiest festival I’ve ever been to (out of 66)! There were too few trashcans, and the ones they did have were often overflowing. The trashcans were also black which made them impossible to see since the festival was poorly lit. Making matters worse, the festival offered no recycling whatsoever. The end result was a festival so dirty that it was almost impossible to enjoy. Whoever was in charge of keeping Voodoo clean needs to consider a career change.
Crowd: The crowd included a wide range of people, mostly residents within driving distance of New Orleans. They are fun, easy to get along with, and maintained positive vibes despite the festival’s shortcomings. They also did an excellent best job of dressing up in smart, well thought out costumes. Click here for a gallery of all the epic costumes.
Food: The food at Voodoo was okay. The good: there was a great representation of New Orleans style food at standard festival prices. The bad: the food lacked variety, and by the third day it all looked the same.
Organization: The organization at this festival was non-existent. The first day entrance line made people wait more than three hours to get into the festival. The line was so bad that I heard reports of people just giving up and going home. This is completely unacceptable. The bathrooms were worse. After five hours at the festival on the first day, I still had no idea where the bathrooms were. I asked someone, and they pointed me to a break in the fence where some people were standing. I made my way there and rounded a corner only to find a hundreds of people waiting to use a couple dozen porta-potties. The line took 20-30 minutes, which prompted people to start peeing inside the fairgrounds to avoid the lines.
(sign the medical staff had to make because so many people were asking them where the bathroom was)
Overall: I came to the Voodoo Experience excited to visit what I figured would be a well-run festival. After all, it’s been around for 15 years. What I experienced was the dirtiest and most poorly organized festival I’ve ever been to. Live Nation needs to take a serious look at what happened here and get to work on fixing it for next year. Any festival that can’t figure out basics like trash management and bathrooms is not providing its attendees with the experience they’re paying for.
With all of these careless mistakes I’m going to give Voodoo Experience one star out of five – the lowest rating I’ve ever handed out.