From the venue to the art to the music, Buku is one of the most unique festivals of the spring. With a post-industrial setting as a backdrop and featuring music from electronic, indie, and hip hop, Buku strives and succeeds as a true festival experience. Catch up on your sleep with the all night shows in the city of New Orleans, you’re going to need your rest.
BUKU is indeed a big deal, even if it’s a boutique event. Beginning in 2012, this annual two-day festival is a cool, eclectic tribute to New Orleans, and to today’s most progressive music genres and artists. Headliners in years past have included Avicii, David Guetta, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Ellie Goulding, Explosions in the Sky, Kendrick Lamar, and the Flaming Lips. You’re as likely to see Primus performing in 3D as you are to enjoy the one-of-a-kind workings of lively local buskers. The organizers, Winter Circle Productions, add stages each year, and the lineup always features loads of Grammy nominees in a variety of eclectic and forward-thinking genres, including New Orleans bounce music. These days, the crowd stays relatively intimate, since BUKU draws around 15,000 attendees over its two days. Attendees are on the younger side—a fine mix of frat boys, hipsters, festival fans and music aficionados—who are all into having fun together and dancing quite a lot.
Local and national artists of all stripes “doing” art right in front of you. Call it kinetic art or call it a live gallery. Throughout the grounds, there are plenty of creative installations and exhibits, the signature one being the manic-looking and always-changing BUKU Graffiti Wall. You’ll also see sculptures, paintings, and pieces patched together out of a variety of other mediums, many of them interactive. In 2013, artists constructed “Fort BUKU” from reclaimed materials—it turned into a place for attendees to be while watching the musical performances.
The food at BUKU is classic NOLA fare and not at all what you’d typically find at a music fest. There’s everything you’d expect to eat along the Gulf Coast, from seafood to barbecue to Southwestern specialties to vegan offerings. Try the “womelettes” (a waffle-omelet combination) or the crepes, and for dessert, the cool, refreshing “snowballs.”