No Damp Spirits at This Year’s Rainy Voodoo Fest

Olivia Post, Contributor

Despite heavy rain on Friday and Saturday morning, Voodoo Fest kicked off as scheduled on Friday Oct. 25. The three-day festival, described by their website as a “musical gumbo,” featured more than 65 bands on five stages. The rain and subsequent mud did not seem to dampen spirits, as thousands of costumed festival-goers descended on New Orleans City Park throughout the weekend. 

Guns N’ Roses, Beck and Post Malone headlined the festival, along with notable acts Brandi Carlile, The National and Bassnectar. A wide range of musical tastes were represented, from alternative and hip-hop, to electronic and heavy medal. 

Lindsay Fuller, who flew in for the event from Brooklyn, said, “It’s a really great mix of people and vibes. Different musical genres that apply to different people. I was really into the Guns N’ Roses crowd last night, also the sweet EDM vibes.” Though the weather resulted in some issues with gear and at least one act was canceled, mostly the event went off without a hitch. 

Food and of course alcoholic beverages took a starring role. The Forked Up Food Court featured dozens of vendors from well-known local institutions, including Blue Oak BBQ and Dat Dog. A well-attended beer hall with high tables and a worthy beer list stood at the center of the grounds, and heavily staffed bar tents ringed around the stages.

For those who needed a break from the music, there were also plenty of other activities and attractions. Several art installations were scattered throughout the park, and the Mortuary fright zone served as a backdrop for photos. A Ferris wheel gave willing guests an aerial view of the festivities and local artisans sold handmade goods at the Market Place.

In true New Orleans form, guests took their costumes very seriously, even as mud splashed up onto fishnets and spandex. The festival laid down plastic sidewalks and pine needles in high traffic areas, but by late Saturday there were some impassable quagmires. Water was pumped out of some areas, only to be redistributed to other parts of the grounds. 

“It’s a bit more of a dystopian, apocalyptic environment [than other festivals] as a result of the mud and the wetness of it all,” said Chris Anhorn, a UNO graduate student. “But honestly everyone’s in good spirits. I’ve seen probably the best costumes that I’ve seen in a while at a music festival.”

By Sunday, the sun came out as music continued to flood over Bayou St. John. But the mud, exacerbated by thousands of dancing feet the days before, persisted. Voodoo Fest, which is always scheduled for Halloween weekend, has a reputation for falling on a rainy weekend, leading some local residents to consider it cursed. But that didn’t dissuade the cheerful crowd from waving their arms and singing along with the music. 

“Honestly, I couldn’t have wished for a better environment,” said recent-transplant to New Orleans Jillian Borukhovich. “The music’s great, the people I’m with are great. Even though we’re in the middle of a swamp, it’s all good times.”