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The Voodoo Experience 2011 in New Orleans

         Sorry I haven’t been blogging lately. I got a super cool writing assignment and have been consumed with getting it right. I have been going to a ton of concerts/ festivals, and have been doing some cool corporate gigs and should be up to speed blogging in the next week or so with getting all the facts and pictures up. Wait a minute, does anyone read my blog? How about just look at the pictures? Well, I think I’m Ok with just a friend or 2 reading my blogs, because I enjoy posting the pictures of the events. I get to re-live the event thru mass media. So let’s get to it.

         Over the Halloween weekend when everyone was flying to Orlando (where I live) I was on a plane heading to New Orleans to visit a great friend and catch the local music festival. The Voodoo Experience is a multi music outdoor festival that takes place in the city park of New Orleans, LA.  They have a rock, hip-hop, jazz, folk, techno, and gospel artists on several stages thru-out the park. I go to mostly techno festivals, so this is a nice break from non-stop dancing that takes place at my usual haunts. I’ll give you an example. Most of my festivals have greasy food carts that sell gyro’s and polish sausage only, because all the money from the production team is spent on lighting, audio, and video. Not Voodoo, they have over 35 food booths with typical New Orleans fare like Crepes, bleu cheese pizza, pad thai with crawfish, pumpkin soup, alligator on a stick, Crawfish cheese grits, and several more mouth watering at decent prices. This year they added carnival rides and huge art pieces, as well as more booths of art for sale and swag Toyota stations. We had so much fun making shrink-e-dink cassettes to wear around our necks. This festival is different in regards to being a more family friendly festival in which you are encouraged to wear your Halloween costumes and you can bring your own chairs and coolers. The start times are 11Am till 9PM. EDC vegas started at 8Pm and ended at 7AM, so you see the difference. The whole festival has a very relaxed feeling to it and people are very approachable and typically southern friendly. Voodoo also keeps up with my techno festivals by providing some great tech gear for an over-all 'show' quality.

         When I go to the techno only festivals, I have to weigh-out which DJ’s are the must-see and plan bathroom breaks around set times as well. With Voodoo, the DJ’s we wanted to see were all at night, so we were able to roam around and see some acts or bands and then do some shopping. One of the coolest things is that I can see a band that I would never pay money to see or very rarely performs. This year I was really excited to see Snoop Dog, even though I hate Hip-Hop, one must see the master deliver his craft. He’s so much fun and gave a great show. I also got to see Soundgarten, which back in the day I truly loved. I know I will get a few jealous eyebrows over that comment. Chris Cornell was on top of his game and gave a truly emotional, energy charged set. The crowd was hanging on every selection of songs from them. For fun we caught a few songs of Blink 182 and man what a bunch of goof balls! Their set was only 30 minutes because they just decided it would be that way.

         The lighting rigs were good this year as well. Most rock rigs don’t do a ton of video like DJ stages do so the light beams are not diluted by the huge LED video screens. I miss big focused slowly moving beam fixtures sometimes because the video is blowing out the darkness and the show involved with great beam fixtures. Blackouts were true blackouts and strobes did their thing! There was a small stage tucked into a back hill that played tech house music. It had a simple set-up of LED Color tubes around the DJ and along the back wall. It’s amazing how lights create a mood in a small area. The PLUR stage was much better this year as well. Fatboy Slim brought a great laser package in addition to the basic package the stage offered. This year the PLUR stage looked like a tunnel with the DJ in the center. A-Trak brought his infamous big LED stripped A, and tore it up show wise. I was glad to see the upgrade of production value, but noticed the line-up wasn't that great, so you get and give with each festival. I won't be going next year, but that's because I will be checking out the Moog festival in Asheville, NC. So someone else go and send me some pictures

         So once again this is the time I make a genuine plea to my fellow lighting techs to go out and catch a music festival. I promise that if the music is what you like, you will enjoy the technical aspects as well. How many jobs let you drink alcohol and look at beautiful people? Did you know that you could write off some expenses for attending such festivals? Expenses that include field research and especially if you get a chance to talk to an LD and get his opinion on his lighting scenes and general advice. Its called field research!

         Next week I will blog about a new club that opened in Miami called Amnesia. I got to talk in detail with the company that did the install called HMS. I have lots of pictures as well. Please remember that my job hinges on starting conversations with fellow technicians, so all questions are welcomed!


Thanks to Nick Altavilla for the use of the better pictures.


This is the main stage

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Comment by Jordan Whaley on December 29, 2011 at 11:53am

It was amazing what they packed into that little PLUR stage.  I was definitely impressed. And Fatboy Slim was easily my favorite live show there. Some amazing technology they're using in the rigs. 

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