Less than a week away from BUKU Music + Art Project 2017, fans are buzzing with excitement as Friday nears closer and closer and the beloved festival begins to work its magic. Looking at the two-day lineup, BUKU appears unbound by genre when it comes to artist bookings—top names include deadmau5, Travis Scott, Grizmatik, Run the Jewels, ZHU, and many more acts. There’s no questioning that #BUKU2017 will have no shortage of stellar musical performances. But, BUKU is more than just great music. Of course, a festival by nature, nominally, founders chose to replace “Festival” with “Music + Art Project” to convey the true nature of their vision, a vision in which dope music is only 50% of the equation.
Nowadays, art installations and other creative niches are no strangers to music festivals around the globe demonstrating an apparent gravitation of fans towards unique festival experiences that transcend beyond the standard “music festival” of 2017. How? Well, let’s take a look at how the other 50% of BUKU creates their signature “Vibe,” outside of all the artists’ sets. Starting from the moment you enter Mardi Gras World, here are 8 things (not on the lineup) to look for at #BUKU2017…
1. A “Monster” of an Entry Way
Last year, BUKU teamed up with the creative minds behind Most Monster Productions to give us “The Goblin King.” Described as a “multisensory pathway” within BUKU in 2016, this interactive display—standing at 20 feet tall—built to invite (or, “swallow”) festival attendees into the “Front Yard” space immediately embodied the immense creativity behind BUKU’s success. Although festival organizers and the Most Monster team haven’t revealed what’s in store for this year’s event, attendees can confidently expect nothing shy of #TOOBUKU even in the art installations on site.
2. Mardi Gras World and the Mississippi
Few venues are as quintessential to a festival as Mardi Gras World is to BUKU and its host city of New Orleans. Atop the concrete and urban setting inside Mardi Gras World, attendees are entrenched in the culture of New Orleans in all directions. The Float Den might host electronic performances with an energy that is completely captivating, but don’t forget to look around. During the year, Mardi Gras World serves as the building ground for many of the floats which bring their own captivating energy to the city’s famed Mardi Gras celebrations. Whether you’re a local yourself, or you’ve never experienced the carnival season here, these floats represent the unparalleled life and vitality of this cultural melting pot of a city.
As you turn away from the buildings and floats, towards the Back Alley stage, take in the view of the Mississippi River. This riverside festival offers a view of the Crescent City Connection bridge that simultaneously lets you catch your breath from dancing and takes your breath away. Traveling to a music festival does not always leave time for attendees to explore the culture outside the grounds, but, luckily, with BUKU, you don’t have to venture any further to get a taste of just what this city is all about.
3. FORT BUKU
Even many die-hard festival fans are unfamiliar with the history and concept behind BUKU’s main art installation, called “Fort BUKU.” You cannot step foot on the grounds without noticing the massive, 40-foot hammock set between 2 cargo containers outfitted with lighting and designs of their own. Relentlessly paying homage to the industrial landscape and vibrant culture on the streets of New Orleans, the multidimensional, multifunctional use of resources is instrumental to the heart and soul behind BUKU. Drawing inspiration from the very earth (or concrete) below, BUKU never forgets its roots. Whether noticing the LED fixtures in the cargo containers or relaxing on the hammock with friends, we encourage you to take notice of the world created around you—every inch was created with purpose and intent. We hope you take notice!
4. VIP Experience aboard the S.S. BUKU
For attendees splurging for the VIP experience, do not take this luxury for granted. The historic Creole Queen riverboat sets the stage—quite literally, as it also serves as a stage for special VIP performances—for the vibrant magic surrounding the festival once the sun goes down. Its awe-inspiring aesthetic serves the New Orleans-infused vibe at BUKU. Its beauty is not bound by the color of your wristband.
5. Let’s not forget the food…
From the food to the craft vendors, BUKU will continue to stimulate you and reinforce its status as a cultural martyr, not just a music festival. Famed for its food culture, New Orleans boasts local eateries that consistently bring tourists from all over the country to have a taste. And, don’t worry, BUKU has made sure that you don’t miss out. Food vendors for this 2017 installment include Pizza Nova, Jalepeno Corn Dog, Mexi Grill, Any O’Cajun, Bratz Y’all, Choice Burger, City Greens, Efe’s Fine Food, and Umami Bites. Already salivating? Join the club.
But, don’t forget to dedicate some of your time to the craft vendors as well, who showcase each of their own unique styles and backgrounds with their art. This year’s crafts will be provided by the inspiring work of The Headspace, Culture-Cross, and Loose Lucys. All 3 already acclaimed and beloved on their own accord, teaming up with BUKU is just another outlet for their creations, inviting fans from all over to enrich themselves in their artistry.
6. “Front Porch” Showcases
Rebranded for 2017, the “Front Porch” serves as the neighborhood hangout of BUKU, an area tucked away behind the Float Den that features local artists, showcases, and performances typical of New Orleans. Formerly known as the “Front Yard,” this rebranding represents the elevation of this platform and its significance in the BUKU experience.
In between acts, on a bathroom break, or while grabbing food, the “Front Porch” provides entertainment from start to finish, each day of the festival. Showcases from Solange Knowles-owned, Saint Heron, the charitable efforts of Upbeat Academy, and local electronic collaborative efforts Dohm Collective and Techno Club–these showcases bring you New Orleans best and brightest innovators to yield a space that feeds creation and inspiration to all who visit.
7. Live Graffiti Art Gallery
Center-stage, under the spotlight of BUKU’s emphasis in artistic expression, is the renowned Live Art Gallery (a.k.a. the Graffiti wall). Bringing in some of New Orleans most talented, the signature Graffiti wall showcases street art, giving these works their deserved recognition and appreciation, across the two-day festival.
Attendees will bear witness to the creative process that goes into these heavily-detailed, thoughtful artistic efforts that are often hidden in the shadows. In allowing attendees to bid on the end-result artworks, a select number of fans will physically take their memories with them after BUKU shuts its gates. This does more than compensate the artists though, as proceeds will go to benefit the charitable efforts of Upbeat Academy and Animal Rescue New Orleans. Watch the artist announcement video below to see who you can expect to see in 2017:
8. “Pop-Up” Moments to Remember
As if BUKU hasn’t immersed you enough in its curated cultural experience, seeping through the weekend will be a number of “Pop-Up” performances from hand-picked street performers, like Nola Hoop Girl or the street-team BUKU Breakers (pictured above). Live in every moment at BUKU because you don’t want to miss a single moment.
Less than a week away from BUKU 2017, keep these 8 things in mind as the weekend draws near.
As described by BUKU’s Art Curator, DogSlobber, on their website, “BUKU is no Art Gallery, it is an Art Project, its landscape in a constant state of change.” So, whether it’s your first BUKU, or a repeat adventure, make sure you embark on the full experience. Take in more than just the music and the lineup. Only then can you fully appreciate what is meant when we say #TOOBUKU.
If you take away anything from this list, let it be this: BUKU Music + Art Project is more than just a music festival. It is more than just a party. It is more than just a massive lineup. It is equal parts music and art. Immerse yourself in the BUKulture because it’s unlike any other.
All images provided by BUKU and aLive Coverage.