Heading to Voodoo Festival in New Orleans this weekend and to prepare I thought I’d chronicle my previous experiences at festivals in cities.
Let me begin by saying that I much much much prefer festivals where you camp. It is a more immersive experience than having the separation of an AirBNB, hotel, or apartment to go back to when the night is over. I think this speaks more to my affinity to camping than anything, but I’d highly recommend that everyone do a festival where they camp for the duration at least once. However that experience will be for another blog, let’s talk about city festivals.
I have been to two. Made in America in Philadelphia 2014, and The Meadows in NYC 2016. Both were pretty similar with Made in America being a lot bigger than the Meadows. Lets break down the Pros and Cons:
- The food at these things is amazing. Since food trucks aren’t required to drive into the middle of nowhere (like they would for a festival where you’d camp) there’s often more diverse options for the types of food trucks that will be present. When I am in festy mode, I am on vacation and ready to smoke all the weed, drink all the beer, and eat the most expensive, best tasting, and shittiest for you food I can find.
- They are easily accessible from public transportation. While I don’t think this will be the case in New Orleans, in both Philly and New York the train took you right to the entrance. This is especially nice if you live close.
- The scene is interesting since your usually walking along streets that have normal traffic on them. It was cool to see the area leading up to the Rocky steps in Philly be transformed into a venue.
- High schoolers everywhere!!!! God damn did I feel old at these things and I was in my early 20s at the time. They clearly don’t know how to handle their drugs and liquor and are a pain in the ass to share a vicinity with. Easily the worst part of city festivals and something I’m not looking forward to on this trip.
- The ride home on public transportation. Remember how I said public transportation is one of the good things? It’s a curse in disguise. You are tired and trying to get back to your place but your surrounded by annoying high schoolers and the train feels like its never going to come. I mean great we didn’t have to pay the uber surge but this is a deep level of hell.
- Drink prices are a little higher. Its a city though so you’ve got to expect it.
A bad crowd can ruin a concert experience quickly and that’s more likely to happen at a city festival than a camping festival. That being said, you can pick and choose your artists to avoid those damn youths.
Highlights from these shows include
The Neighborhood @ Made In America:
They had that song that was real big at the time about the holes in the sweater. IDK I’m not a huge fan of theirs but it was cool to hear such a popular song at the time live
Danny Brown @ Made In America:
First time seeing Danny Brown and he really lived up to the hype. I left the YG show early to get close and found my fellow mosh pit people. During ‘Dip’ I literally threw a high schooler out of the pit. He jumped at the wrong time and I was already being thrown his way and it turned into WWE move. Danny also played ‘Trampy’ which is a deeper cut thats on sound cloud and youtube but not on the albums. It’s like a mash up of his songs handstand and wit it. It’s absolutely one of his best and I feel blessed that I got to see it live.
Tiesto @ Made in America
It was late night and I looked up and Tiesto was on a pulpit 20 feet high with lights and bud light ads everywhere. I said to my friend “I feel like Im in a beer commercial”. I later realized Made in America is sponsored by Annheiser Busch, so I was, in fact, in a beer commercial.
Kings of Leon @ Made in America
This was the last act we saw and I have to say I was fuckin exhausted. They can play though. Revelry is a song I didn’t know before I saw it live and it’s an excellent jam.
Kanye West @ Made in America
Kanye is a fantastic live performer. Don’t believe anyone that says otherwise. I came in fully expecting a rant and I got one in autotune. So much fun. Basically a sing a long with thousands of other people due to the amount of hits he rattled off. I may write another blog solely on this experience. Regardless of what he does in his personal life, Kanye is a national treasure.
Chromeo @ Made in America
First time I’ve seen someone use autotune through a tube. Pretty cool. Chromeo has some jams and this was a fun show but probably not something I’d die to see if they came to my city.
J. Cole @ Made in America
Whew. This guy played a 5 minute police brutality compilation before he came on stage, and when he finally did get on stage he was wasted! Not wasted enough to not perform though. It was fun and he’s got hits so I saw him again….
J. Cole @ The Meadows
No police brutality video this time. Much more fun! However seeing J. Cole two times is enough for me and probably will not pay to see him again.
Post Malone @ The Meadows
Post Malone is huge right now, but at this time he’d just released Stoney so he was on during the mid day. Post gives off good vibes. Just looks natural on the stage with the bud light and microphone in hand. A common man indeed. Highlight of the show was when he did his Fleetwood Mac cover.
Empire of the Sun @ The Meadows
Fully expecting a bunch of trippy visuals and light, I went into this with high hopes and wasn’t disappointed. They have crazy outfits and make up and their whole shtick from the sound to the stage design is mesmerizing.
This has inspired me to do a ‘guide to a festival’ so be on the lookout for that as well as a full Voodoo recap.