An interview with BUKU founder Dante DiPasquale

Christopher Walker, Editor - in - Chief

CW: Chris Walker—Driftwood Editor-in-chief

DD: Dante DiPasquale—Co-Founder, Winter Circle Productions, BUKU Music + Art Project

CW: How did the idea of BUKU come about?

DD: We wanted to create an event that celebrated some of the new music and art scenes that were bubbling up in New Orleans; something that felt unique and a little gritty that represented the city’s youthful and progressive subculture.

CW: How was that first year getting the festival together? With no brand recognition it must have been hard to book artists and get people to come out.

DD: The first year was a true family effort, with the mixture of passion and inexperience creating a beautiful mess.  Luckily, agents we had been working with on club shows in the prior years believed in us and trusted our vision enough to book their artists on BUKU year one.

CW: Do you have any hero in the business world? Someone who you look up to, or a company or organization that inspires you?

DD: Goldenvoice and Madison House Presents set the bar for festival experiences.  The people in those organizations are amazing and inspire us daily.

CW: How can BUKU get bigger? It seems like it’s limited by the size of Mardi Gras World.

DD: Growth is naturally in the back of our heads after selling out two years in a row, but we place a lot of value in BUKU’s boutique-urban vibe.  The fan experience and staying true to BUKU’s brand are our main points of focus.

CW: Anything else you’re working on?

DD: Our company, Winter Circle Productions, promotes about 150 shows a year in and around New Orleans. Some shows coming up that we are stoked for are Bob Weir, Angel Olsen, Jimmy Eat World, Borgore/NGHTMRE over Mardi Gras, and three nights of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead over Jazz Fest.  Our partner on BUKU, Huka Entertainment, produces the amazing Pemberton and Tortuga festivals.

CW: What kind of music do you guys listen to in your free time?

DD: We pretty much book and promote the music we like so just taking a look at this year’s and past year’s lineups gives you a pretty good idea.

CW: Who’s your favorite artist right now?

DD: Run The Jewels

CW: Who’s an artist people should be keeping an eye on?


CW: Who’s an artist you would love to book?

DD: This wouldn’t be for BUKU obviously, but Bob Dylan.  For BUKU, I’d love to get Nicolas Jaar on at some point.

CW: Any horror stories about any artist you could share? A diva or a total scumbag?

DD: Not really.  Almost all of the artists, and their teams, who we have worked with over the years have been amazing.  Of course there are hiccups and varying personalities along the way, but it’s our job to deal with the stress of putting on a great event so that the artists can focus on their craft.