Festival Preview: BUKU Music + Art Project

In a few weeks, HeadCount will attend the eighth-annual Buku Music + Art Project. It’s our fourth-year attending the festival, and we’re as excited as ever to be an ingredient in the unique flavor that is Buku.

This year’s lineup features a variety of acts, including Lana Del Ray, Excision, RL Grime, A$AP Rocky, Toro Y Moi, and Louis the Child.

Buku is a festival with its “finger on the pulse,” said HeadCount’s Mollie Farrell, who worked as an artist liaison for Buku in previous years. She appreciates the festival’s focus on lesser-known genres and its attention to the community. Farrell described going to Buku as “feeling like you’ve been let in” on one of New Orleans’ best-kept secrets.

Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, this two-day festival takes place on the grounds of the historic Mardi Gras World, a working warehouse studio which has provided locals and tourists a glimpse at the building process of New Orleans’ renowned Mardi Gras mega floats for over 35 years.

But what is Buku? Well, the word itself means “a lot of” or “many,” from the French word “beacoup.”

With roots dug deep in New Orleans tradition, Buku considers itself an “Urban Oasis.” As a collaboration between local communities and world-famous acts, Buku manages to contain all the amenities expected from a world-class festival without sacrificing its local flair.

The festival began in 2012 as an attempt to breath life back into a “post-Katrina New Orleans,” according to producer Winter Circle Production’s website. Since its inception, Buku has returned to New Orleans waterfront year after year.

Due to the increased popularity of the festival over the past few years, in 2018 it was decided to double the size of the festival grounds and increase capacity by 3,000 people, for a total of 35,000 attendees over the two-day event, according to The Advocate.

Pop-up shows are commonplace, as are the numerous art installations, live art exhibits and breakdance competitions. No form of expression seems stifled, as attendees wade through a sea of costumes and painted faces as they travel between the numerous curated stages.

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