The BUKU Music + Art Project Experience in 2019 took place on March 22nd and 23rd. This year was their 8th consecutive year putting on the event, and it certainly delivered. The lineup this year included well known names including, Lana Del Rey, A$AP Rocky, Kevin Gates, and Dog Blood. Here is the account of this event from my own perspective.
On Friday the 23rd of March, BUKU Music + Art Project Experience opened its gates at 2PM. My friend and myself had gotten there before then in order to make the most of this experience. The lines were long and the sun was hot, but after waiting patiently, we were in. It was exciting to pass through those gates because I was also able to bring in a disposable camera.
First things first, we explored the entirety of the grounds before committing to one artist. We checked out all of the stages, the food, the merch, and especially the safe space tent. The first act we went to was The Ice Man Special at the Power Plant stage. I had never heard of this band but their energy on stage had the crowd dancing and living for their music. After their show, we had 30 minutes to kill. So we ended up getting Mexican Corn and Crawfish Beignets. These were two excellent choices in taste and satisfying hunger. When I go back to the BUKU Music + Art Project Experience, these are treats you cannot miss trying.
Later in the day one of my KLSU favorites took the stage, Toro y Moi. Seeing this band perform live is killer compared to their recordings. Their percussionist was essential to the band's performance and was so eye catching with her bongos and other instruments too. They had played for about 1 hour, and afterwards all you could hear was people talking about how good the band was. I think that they earned some more fans that day.
In between acts, it was nice to take a break with water by laying in the grass. Eventually, we made our way to the safe space tent. The concept of this was so cool. It was a tent with some couches and chairs where festival goers could recharge themselves or take a break from the sun. They also had hair ties, bandaids, candy, and water. It was the best resting station I could have asked for and honestly, all festivals should have this.
Excision was next up on the Power Plant Stage and his bass was the loudest I believe I have ever heard. He was loud and you knew he was there. He also had these incredibly cool animations playing on the board behind him that went with the song. His EDM was one that is a must for fans of that genre
Kevin Gates was explicit but that is how his performance goes. He made his stage presence known with crude remarks and swigs of vodka, but he made it entirely his own. It's like he owned that stage that night. He played old Gates and new Gates, but ultimately this music took me back to early high school, where we would drive around all night smoking cigarettes and talking about our high dreams. At the end of his set, he brought out his kids who looked to be about 5 and 6 years old. His daughter was so cute because she knew the words to all of her dad's songs. His son danced like a legend, doing the floss next to his dad with complete confidence. Kevin Gates wrapped up and the crowd was ready for Lana Del Rey.
While waiting for Lana's set, I ran into someone who had met her that day at a New Orleans costume shop. I saw the selfies and everything, this was the real deal. After fan girling with her, I found out that she bought the dress she was wearing that night at another dress shop in New Orleans too. After talking and being excited, it was Lana time. She played a lot of her big hits and had a cool and collected stage energy. There was one point where she looked me right in the face while we were both singing the words to Born to Die. I thought the best part of her show was when she ended with Venice Bitch and came down to the audience. She did not come to my area, but she signed autographs, took selfies, and gave plenty of hugs. See her live if you possibly can.
Friday night ended while listening to Kero Kero Bonito's song Flamingo. It is a song that is used in memes and other pop culture references but it was satisfying to hear that song played in real life after a long day.
Saturday morning, the two of us are exhausted from the day before but are excited to get out of the door to make it to downtown New Orleans. We took more time exploring and touched on things we did not do the previous day. Monster Energy Drinks had and endorsed tent, so we went to check it out. We got free monster and fans blowing on us with a perfect view of the Power Plant stage. We also went to the float den to see the beautifully crafted Mardi Gras floats who call Mardi Gras World home. During this, we were able to see a metal artist called Thou on the power plant stage who entirely rocked the house down with their guitar and lyrics.
The next artist we went to see was in float den who was a New Orleans native, James Seville. He had this really cool bit he does at his shows. He told everyone in the den to turn on their apple air drop to send a random person a selfie or a nude. People did turn on their air drop, but memes and jokes were sent around rather than what he wanted. I still have the stash of pictures on my phone that made my friends and I die of laughter.
My friends stayed behind to see the next artist there, but I ran to Power Plant in order to see Griz. This is also another KLSU favorite of mine. He was such a talented DJ. He danced the hardest he could, played a real saxophone, and even jumped in the crowd by song three in order to interact with his fans. His performance just made one feel alive. If Griz does not make it bigger than he actually is, I will be surprised. There is so much talent with this artist.
Back at Float Den we also saw Roy Blair. We were front row, but I had gotten hot from running back so I sat out of the side. This was not a bad thing though. As I sat their listening to his chill and spacey music and looked around Mardi Gras World, I just felt good inside with everything happening around me. I told my friends that Roy Blair's music and the Float Den all happening at the same time was basically a visual representation of what goes on in my mind. And from the looks of other concert goers, there are probably some people who were there who felt the same way too.
It was now time for food, so we filled up on quesadillas, seafood loaded fries, and gourmet popsicles. These were all must haves at this festival.
Doja Cat was next on our list. She was at the Switchyard Stage. We had actually seen her unknowingly walking around the grounds. Doja Cat is an artist who made it big from her Cow Song off of YouTube. Her energy and vibe probably made her my favorite artist of the night. She even brought up Rico Nasty to sing with her as well. Doja Cat honestly needed a bigger stage because a load of people came to see her perform.
We stuck around for the two main acts for Saturday, A$AP Rocky and Dog Blood. A$AP stayed aloof at the beginning of his set by projecting a shadow onto a white sheet and rapping. Once the sheet fell, he also had a mask in order to hid his face. Halfway through, he takes it off and encourages a mosh pit. He included directions and everything. People closer to the stage took part in this. He closed out with his more popular songs, and left the stage.
At this point in the festival, I had not done a lot of dancing. I had screamed lyrics and vibbed with songs, but no hardcore dance moves. Dog Blood, was different though. Skrillex is in this group and the dubstep had me dancing until their set was over. They put on a excellent show filled with energy and lasers that shot out everywhere.
Day 2 was over and it was time for a shower and to go to bed. My legs ached but it was all worth it in order to experience what I did. I highly recommend this experience to anyone who is thinking or considering going. I will certainly be there next year to do it all again.