Day 1 of The Voodoo Experience | New Orleans, LA
So I wasn't sure if I was going to do this as one large blog post or if I was going to just do 2 post or if I was going to break it down into 3 blog post. The fact is it is just easier to a big blog and leave it done. I hate writing and it's just easier to do it that way. Fact is Voodoo is just so much more than just a quick post with some of what I think are my best images from a festival.
This year's festival started on Friday Nov 1, 2013 and my first time to go, much less photograph it. To top it off we decided to camp it out for the weekend as well. I can't lie. When we showed up Thursday evening we were a little worried because it was pooring down rain, our tent was too big for the space, and we didn't think to air it out and measure it out before we rolled up. The upside was there were shower trailers and a crazy amount of people making sure that random strangers weren't coming in and going crazy in all of our space. Yea we had to deal with the living off the portajohns(porta potties) for the next 5 days/4 nights but it was worth it for what was to come.
The next morning comes and we wake up to engineers sound checking the 4 different stages and a wet broke a** tent. We went off to WallyMart got the hook up on the morons pricing a tent wrong(we paid $50 for a $150 little coleman tent which was well worth it for that weekend!). There were 4 stages at Voodoo. The Ritual(main stage) which I was not approved to shoot, Flambeau(crazy awesome little bit of everything stage), Carnival(rock, ska, punk), and the LePlur(edm, dubstep, trap music, dance yo arse off stage). The GA camping was right next too the LePlur stage. INSANE!!! To wake up to that type of bass. Well I'm sure other people in the camp site wasn't cool with it but the tents close proximity to us were all about it. It was a great way to get up and see that the weekend was going to be good. The sun was out, the air was dry which was amazing because I wasn't looking forward to that NOLA humidity at all, and it wasn't hot! It felt like a foreshadowing to something that was going to be great!
Getting into the festival was easy. All the tickets(credentials) had these nfc chips inside them so it was a simple scan to get into where we needed to be and we were good to go. Everything seemed to always be smooth selling. I've been to a lot of different festivals and it seemed like this one has been the smoothest I've been to so far. You could definitely tell that this is been 15 years in the making.
So if you want to go to a show that has a massive amount of diversity then Voodoo is definitely a festival to attend. The issue with that is this; There is a MASSIVE amount of bands. It's not really an issue but it is something that you have to sit down and schedule your day for. I couldn't shoot everyone. It's not that I wanted to shoot everyone but this might be an issue with some folks out there.I believe the only moment it really effect me was the first night. It was the one point when Abs an I actually split up for a little bit. I wanted to photograph Calvin Harris and she wanted to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I wanted to watch the M&RL show as well but I have to put photographic priorities first naturally.
Since we're talking about the bands and the massive amount of difference between each and everyone let's go through some. I really do wish I could've photographed a majority of these bands but it just wasn't in the cards for me as I was all over the place but the few I did get to photograph were amazing live. It's seriously like they all came out the woodwork with a huge amount of talent and showmanship!
Even though the show started at 11 I didn't take my first "concert pic" until at 3 when ZZ Ward stepped on the Flambeau stage. This girl is hot sexy freaking fire and I'm pretty sure that both Abs and I would divorce each other and marry this girl. She has that sexy blues voice but there's a swing of that swagger that you find in jazz. Ms. Ward has been gaining some notoreity over the last year or so with her songs "Put The Gone Down" & more recently "365 Days". She has an amazing band that knows how to keep that tight but loose flavor that a 3 piece band can do behind a power house and the guitar player showed that they could ease through guitar, slide, and even keys for when she picked up the acoustic her self. It was an amazing thing watch her belt her soul out on stage. There were moments where I felt Amy Winehouse. There were moments when I felt like she was channeling the great Minnie Memphis. It was truly amazing. If she is in the big H I will be in front of that barricade catching that whole show on my camera! All the while screaming the words back to her!
From ZZ's show we walk over to the ridiculous low bass and high treble that is Trap Music at LePlur. Trap music has started to make more of a movement over the last few years and seems like the natural continuation from where Dubstep is kind of starting leave off a bit. We get over there to a huge crowd bobbing their heads and hands up and down to Keys N Krates. The guys were great at keeping the crowd invovled and kept both Abs and me hanging around for a bit. It was crazy with the thump and level of that sound just ripping through our bodies. From that second I knew that the artist to come on that stage through out the weekend was going to be epic!
At this point we had to take a break and go dump our cards and get grab a quick bite. The food was amazing. Of course we were expecting that it was just going to be typical fest food, which we did have some of, but there was a lot of little snippets of New Orleans mixed in with typical food. It was a fat fest for us all weekend long! It was good stuff. We had a little bit of time before Allen Stone came on so we caught a little bit of Destructo and his electro set. It was solid and he is probably one of the better edm "mixologist" out there. Come to find out this dude is more than just a sick dj. This dude runs HARDEvents. This dude has got his hands in the right cookie jar at the right time. It was pretty good to watch.
Allen Stone came on and all we could describe him as is Prince meets Elton John. At only 26 years old this guy has more showmanship then most 40 year olds been doing this for the last 20 years. The Washington native's songwriting abilities scream soul all over the place and his show has him standing straddled on pianos. It's crazy amazing and this guy stays in key while his antics keep him running back and forth. He was definitely one of the larger crowds at the Flabeau stage for the whole weekend. He wasn't even the stage closer.
This is where the split happened. Annabeth stuck around and jammed out some Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis on the Ritual stage while I made the short jaunt over to the LePlur stage to catch the stage closer and critically acclaimed Calvin Harris. There were lights, smoke canons, and a crowd any top tier DJ would be happy with. It's always interesting to see a DJ that is producer first perform. You get used to these big anthemic records on the radio and you want to hear them live. Then they come on live but it's a different monster mix of it's own. Sometimes it works and then sometimes it doesn't. The mix for the most part was really clean and flowed well. I can't really complain about anything and the thousands of people watching him didn't complain either. I photographed my 15 minutes and decided to go join back with ABs. Come to find out I ended up photographing the show and crowd for more than 45 minutes. I arrived back to see the Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis were pretty much done. Abs said the show was amazing and to this moment is dying to see the dynamic duo again. Though, from what I've read their show was a little lackluster compared to other shows and festivals they've performed at. I unfortunately can't tell you one way or another.
Pearl Jam came up next we honestly weren't very tuned in. As a musician I can say their musicianship is bar none top tier. They are very good and always produce amazing music. I'm just not someone that has ever been a big fan and therefore wasn't 100% into their show. I'll get crucified for this but at the end of the day I think we were spent and not being huge fans, we just felt the need to head back to our camp site. It was only a short quarter mile away. Sounds like a distance but it wasn't really.
So we get some food, get in the tent, close our eyes, and look forward to day 2................