My journey to Buku Music + Art Project Festival began with a 14 hour bus ride from my home in Tampa, Florida. The bus ride for me was filled with anticipation as I traveled to a new city I’ve never been too.
Thoughts like, “Will there really be beads everywhere?”, “Is NOLA really how American Horror Story Cult made it seem?” and “Can I truly get a Bloody Mary at 9 am?” ran through my head. To answer my own questions, yes there are beads everywhere, no AHS did not make NOLA seem like its full of witches but instead it is full of a rich culture, and absolutely one can get A BOMB ASS BLOODY MARY AT NINE AM.
I got into town a day early to take advantage of sight seeing. As my BUKrewe (BU-crew) was still traveling, I set out to wonder French Quarters and Bourbon Street . My first stop was the infamous Ruby Slipper for the best Bloody my mouth has ever tasted!! I was so mind-blown that anyone can walk up to a bar on Bourbon Street, order a drink and causally walk around with it.
After feeling nice and toasty from that Bloody Mary, I made the trip to see Madame LaLaurie cemetery and the Voodoo Museum. Both were pretty cool to check out as I am a huge history buff. The second the crew came into town, I met up with them at the Airbnb and passed out to prepare myself for a magical day one.
Buku Day One
Buku is located at Mardi Gras World, with views of the beautiful Mississippi River. Festival goers flooded the entrance as they waited for their squads, took pictures in their amazing rave gear, or slaped the bag of fireball. Everyone looked amazing as Victoria and I both felt the vibes Buku was projecting.
We entered through the press entrance which happened to be the Float Den; the warehouse full of floats that are used in the Mardi Gras Parade. It just added to the whole authentic feel of being in New Orleans and at Mardi Gras World.
As we made our way outside, where the weather was BEAUTIFUL, we were distracted by a booth playing big room house and glitter. Naturally, Victoria and I stopped into Itty Bitty Glitter Committee for a complete glitter makeover because why not look fabulous at Buku.
Photo Credit: Victoria Garces
Our bodies were being drawn to the funky house music most people call Dirty Bird. The Wharf stage is nestled right along the river had all the right tunes to keep all the BUKrewe shuffling, break dancing, and grooving. This stage had an industrial feel too it, going along with the theme of being an art project. For sure one of my favorite stages, along with having some of my favorite house djs.
Scattered throughout the whole festival were many canvas’ that started out blank, but soon filled with very talented graffiti artists. Giant light up star constellations offered festival goers the perfect spot to hang and meet up with friends. Pop up DJs were placed around the river so people could hop on and play. *** I later found out that the pop up DJs were all local to the area. Kudos to Buku**
Two things that really caught my eye and heart, serving us a full-blown street vibe were violinists and cellists playing with a producer on a laptop who took the recorded live instruments, mixing it on the spot and playing back. The NOLA sign lit up to the beat, and of course the beautiful river behind the sign.
I was stunned with how mesmerizing it was and caught myself wandering to this spot to listen. While walking through the crowd, people-watching, a bicyclists rode by. On the back of the bike someone was playing on cdjs *enter scream face surprised emoji*. All around this moving bike, people were shuffling and vibing. I have never seen anything like that and it just completely blew my mind!
Day One at Buku was incredibly beautiful, inspirational, and exciting. As there were many amazing artist, musicians, bands, and DJs that played day one, here is a list of our top favorites and the ones I was bummed about.
- Walker and Royce- I have slept on amazing music.
- Virtual Self- HOLY DRUM N BASS AND LASERS.
- Ganja White Night B2B Boogie T – We caught them in the middle of Boogie T jamming out on the guitar. Amazing, plus that Float Den.
- Blackgummy- makes some hella dope beats.
- Migos- Even though we were not in the crowd for them, we heard how lit they were.
- Alison Wonderland- Have you even seen a disappointing set from her? Yea me neither, killed it as always. Ps: I also got to interview her! you can check it out here
- Lil Xan- I back up his message, but man was that was an awful performance. The crowd was lit though.
- A Day To Remember- Mind you this is just my opinion, Victoria LOVED them!! I personally was not feeling it and the sound just seemed a bit off, but seeing others who have been dying to see them for years was a joy to watch!
Buku Day Two
Waking up on day two with the BUKrewe, still buzzing from day one with the fact that we were about to witness the most beautiful sunset set play by Illenium. After toasting to a great day ahead of us, we all hopped in our Uber’s to BUKU.
Day two was more of a chill day for Victoria and I. We got there in just enough time to partake in the media happy hour, giving us a chance to meet other social media outlets and expand our connections. It was definitely cool meeting other
I pushed my way to the rail to experience Illenium’s Live set while the sun was setting. What an experience! So many of his fans were just watching in awe, while couples in matching Illenium jerseys embraced each other – talk about goals!
At every festival I go too, I check out the food. Considering Buku is in New Orleans, all the food was seafood and crawfish, I’M NOT COMPLAINING!! I chowed down on crawfish bon-bons, crab tacos topped with clam chowder, shrimp po boys, and some edible cookie dough.
*** I meant to take pictures of all this wonderful food but the fat kid in me took over and I couldn’t wait***
In all, day two was just as amazing, even wondering around alone for a bit. My top favorites and least favorites include:
- Borgore – Grimiest set I have even seen from him!
- Rezz – SPACE MOM CAME THROUGH WITH HER WEIRD NOISES.
- Hippie Sabotage – Those visuals had me in the zone.
- Illnieum – Beautiful, just beautiful.
- Bassnectar – Normally not a fan, but was digging this set.
- Lil Uzi Vert- Dude couldn’t even get on a plane to show up. FAIL. Buku felt some type of way as they posted this :
BUKU is an amazing experience. The vibes there are ALWAYS spot on. Everyone is vibing near the water, gazing at the art, embracing the southern atmosphere and feeling the music. If you’re looking for that one festival to go to every year, BUKU is definitely the one.