Photos by Danica Nuestro
From the West Coast to the East Coast, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my first time in New Orleans than over at the sold-out BUKU Music + Art Project. NOLA natives were raving on how the weather was perfect for the weekend. The BUKREWE went all out with their fashionable festie outfits. And for two days—strangers became friends, squads reunited and we all vibed out to an incredibly stacked lineup.
Mardi Gras World
BUKU was back at Mardi Gras World and I completely fell in love with the venue. The art was everywhere and I loved every single one of them: from the installations, graffiti backdrops and stages. The stages were set up perfectly where artists performing at the same time wouldn’t be heard at any other stages. For stages that were relatively nearby, the set times were curated so they wouldn’t overlap. A festival goer’s dream is to not have any conflicting set times—especially for a large music festival with so many artists. I had no issue with conflicting artists and if I did there was an ample amount of time to travel between stages and not miss any of the action.
Day 1 Artist Highlights
Kero Kero Bonito
Many of you may be familiar with these song lyrics…
“How many shrimps do you have to eat? Before you make your skin turn pink. Eat too much and you’ll get sick. Shrimps are pretty rich.”“Flamingo” by Kero Kero Bonito
Yes, Kero Kero Bonito closed out the Switchyard stage on Day 1 and this turned out to be my personal favorite set from that day. Frontwoman Sarah Midori Perry played to the crowd with the stuffed animals placed on the DJ booth. They had a little crocodile for their song “Pocket Crocodile” and a pink flamingo for the iconic song above, “Flamingo.” Hearing “Trampoline” and “Sick Beat” live for the very first time made my heart extremely happy. For the very first time, I heard a crowd chanting “Please!” right after every “One more song!” chant, and lo and behold: they come back out to do an encore song, “Make Believe” from their recent album Time n’ Place.
From First To Last
From First to Last (the band consisting of Sonny Moore aka Skrillex, Travis Richter, Matt Good and Derek Bloom) was listed for BUKU as a DJ Set for the Float Den. Now what better way to hype the crowd before their after party set after Day 1 with an interactive, experimental set at BUKU? “What we will play will shock you,” they said…and indeed they did. I absolutely loved their song selections and FFTL turned out to be one of the most energetic sets of from Day 1!
I follow Ekali on Twitter so I already knew that I was excited about this set. He tweeted how BUKU was going to be one of his very first festival performances of 2019 and it was going to premiere some new tracks. Not only did he play some of his own unreleased tracks but dropped a few new tracks from his friends. We Are Fury tweeted that Ekali gave us a taste of their new track with NXSTY, and he also played Nitti Gritti & TYNAN’s unreleased track “Holy.” Of course we heard some iconic tracks as well; such as his, NGHTMRE and Zhu’s track “Blame” and “R U I N” ft. 1788-L. All in all, one of the best sets to have seen at The Wharf during the sunset.
Day 2 Artist Highlights
Golden Hour with GRiZ on the main stage was one of the highlights from Day 2. Everywhere you looked, no one was standing still at the Power Plant—everyone was vibing out during songs like “I’m Good” and “It Gets Better.” Fans were also throwing down to tracks like “My Friends and I” pt. 2 and “Glitch Hop Just Died.” I personally haven’t seen GRiZ live since he replaced Tommy Trash at Hard Summer 2014 and let me tell you: this performance was amazing and I would relive it again if I could.
I’ve heard so many good things about G Jones’ new Ineffable Truth tour and I was so excited to see it here at the Float Den for Day 2. Although the stage set up was slightly different than his live production on tour, G Jones still managed to make the crowd come alive. The small warehouse vibes of the Float Den really complimented G Jones’ set. I left this set with my mind blown and completely speechless—if the Ineffable Truth tour magically comes to your city, you cannot miss it. It was truly incredible.
One artist that caught my attention was Jantsen. Now those who purchased VIP passes were blessed with exclusive sets by artists held at the VIP stage at the Power Plants’ VIP area. One of the sets over at the VIP stage was Jansten’s. If you’re a fan of Bassnectar, you’ll definitely love Jansten. And I have to say, this crowd went WILD during his set. There was so much space for you to go all out and break your neck as he performed. The energy was for sure one of the most energetic from Day 2’s performers. However, I wish we were able to hear a much longer set because 45 minutes was definitely not enough time.
Now it wouldn’t be a BUKU recap if we didn’t talk about the BUKREWE. I will be completely honest when I say that I felt extremely underdressed. Why? Everyone’s outfits were on POINT both days. From many recognizable festival fashion apparel companies to festival looks from Forever 21 (yes, F21 currently has their seasonal line geared towards festival season). I was in awe from the outfits that I saw and mentally took notes so I could step my festival fashion game up for the season. That, plus the squads coming through to BUKU with their themed outfits for the day? Loved every single bit of it.
It really pained me to leave New Orleans after an amazing weekend like that. But what I can say for sure—Merci, BUKU! You have far exceeded my expectations. After immersing myself in BUKU’s culture, I can confidently say that I am hooked.