The 7th annual BUKU Music + Art Project was pure madness, in the greatest way possible. Thousands of festivalgoers gathered at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, Louisiana for a weekend full of music performances, live artists, roaming performers, and late night debauchery.

BUKU started Friday early afternoon and although it was only a two-day festival, it managed to contain an extremely stacked and incredibly diverse lineup. Whether you were there for EDM, hip-hop/rap, rock, or all three, BUKU had it all.

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Friday started off with some heavy bass in the Float Den with performances by Spag Heddy, Boogie T, Ganja White Night and Snails. While Friday’s Float Den lineup was awesome, the area was definitely not big enough to accommodate the crowd. Even though BUKU expanded the festival grounds this year, they were not able to expand the Float Den since it’s a permanent building at Mardi Gras World. However, the crowd was 100% worth it to see Boogie T straight up shred his guitar while going b2b with Ganja White Night.

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The night then continued with amazing performances in the Ballroom by Falling in Reverse and A Day To Remember. Although BUKU attracts mostly EDM fans, the Ballroom was packed because, let’s be honest here, most fans of EDM were once emo music fans. Then it was back to the Float Den for the US festival debut of Virtual Self, Porter Robinson’s new side project, which was great, but did experience some technical difficulties halfway through.

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The second day of BUKU began with my favorite part of the entire festival: the Borgore x Soundboks Renegade Parade. The parade started at the Downtown Marriott and walked almost a full mile down Convention Center Blvd straight to the BUKU gates. The parade was renegade in every sense of the word; it was led by a few drummers and followed by Borgore performing on a small float and about 100 festivalgoers dancing and pregaming their way along. In fact, when the parade reached the BUKU gates a police officer told Borgore to cut off the music because “there’s a festival going on right here,” to which Borgore replied “we are the festival.”

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Even though the parade party was cut short, it was still the perfect start to an amazing second day of BUKU, which was full of action-packed moments and impressive music performances. The three that stood out to me the most were Illenium, who debuted his first-ever live show with full Awake tour production at a festival, Bassnectar, who threw down another incredible set following Okeechobee, and REZZ, who closed out the entire festival by burning down the Float Den.

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With the seventh annual BUKU Music + Art Project, BUKU once again strengthened its presence as a wild, eclectic, and urban oasis of music and art in the heart of New Orleans. Although BUKU had to deal with a few hiccups that were in no way their fault, such as Lil Uzi Vert canceling last minute for no reason at all, BUKU handled these setbacks admirably and ensured that the festival still ran as smoothly as possible. For that reason, BUKU still remains one of my favorite festivals and I will definitely be attending again in 2019.

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