BUKU, from the Perspective of a Former BUKU Hater

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Young & Sick

I think one of the more surprising things I could come out with to my friends and family is that I’m a strong supporter of communism. They all know damn well that that’s not true, and my favorite shirt can prove it. USA, USA, USA!

Second on that list would have to be my plans for this past Saturday. I called my friend that morning, asking what time they were heading out.

“Heading out for what?” he asked.

“Buku,” I responded.

“No way.”

Out of my element…

The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips

The scene at the BUKU Music + Art Project isn’t really my cup of tea. Sure, I love music and some festivals as much as the next guy. Find me anywhere at Jazzfest and I’ll be having a blast. I just never bought into the whole EDM, electronica, trap, DJ, meltyface drop the bass thing that seemed to sweep the college scene in the past few years. So it was of no surprise that I never had any interest in Buku. I wasn’t about paying festival prices to see a bunch of college kids on psychedelics.

This year was a game changer, though. On top of the normal electronica that BUKU is known for, they also threw in acts like The Flaming Lips, Explosions in the Sky and Tyler the Creator. All one night, all $90 for a day pass. I was reluctantly sold.

First things first. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Within a few minutes I was asked if I’d seen a girl named Molly. I said no, but this girl must be really popular, because everyone was asking about her. I hope she’s all right…

It really was what I was expecting, and what everyone loves about it is what I wasn’t excited for. A bunch of music that I’m not really into and a whole subculture that I don’t understand. That’s okay, though. I wasn’t alone. Along with a good amount of other people who were there for the same reasons, I just had a good time, even though I didn’t really care for guys like Clockwork, David Guetta or The Glitch Mob. I went in with a closed mind and I came out thinking, “That wasn’t so bad.”

The Catch

Explosions in the Sky
Explosions in the Sky

The festival itself has a little catching up to do if it wants to compete with any others in the city, though. The food was dismal, at best. You could drop crawfish Monica on the ground, rub it in Buku juice and put it back in a bowl and it would still be better than what Buku offered.

There wasn’t much to do outside of listening to music. The only art I really saw was the 10+ graffiti murals being live-painted over the course of the day. I know this is in a completely different category than, let’s say, Jazzfest or VooDoo. But if I’m looking to shell out nearly $100 for a day pass, I want a little more variety.

Not to single out a genre and generalize its fans, but this is the type of festival where dangerous things can happen. Out of just my friends, which let’s not kid around, is a pretty small group, one got pick-pocketed, another got roofied, and a third ended up in the hospital swearing off all vices from now on. It’s just something that comes with the party scene, apparently. The festival organizers did offer free water and the staff looked well prepared for any mishaps, though, so at least they saw it coming. Just stay safe out there, friends.

My Verdict

So, would I recommend Buku fest? Sure. I’m the minority here, so chances are you love that kind of music. If you LOVE neon and the word “YOLO,” you should get next year’s ticket right now. Even if you don’t, it’s still an experience.

Now it’s about that time to mutter the phrase no one ever saw coming from me – I enjoyed Buku.

EDIT 3/27/14: According to my good friend and BUKU aficionado, the correct phrase is now “Turn down for what.” I stand corrected, feeling old, and wondering if and what exactly I turned down for this past weekend. We’ll never know.


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About Eric

Eric is a New Orleans native and graduate of Loyola. He grew up in Kenner and is embarrassed to tell you that. He lives Uptown and frequents local watering holes to socialize with peers. His hobbies include writing, making bad jokes, and casually observing the day to day life of New Orleans.

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