Buku Fest Returns March 11 & 12
Buku Fest has reigned as my favorite festival since the first one in 2012. Every year, I am introduced to incredible new music from buzzing independent artists I wouldn’t have come across if it weren’t for Buku’s lineup. This is the first time the 21-year-old Tulane University senior and EDM artist CRWNS gets to perform on a major festival stage. As a rising EDM artist, CRWNS is all about the love of sharing his music and is excited that his hard work is finally paying off: “I’m honored to perform at the same festival as artists I’ve looked up to like NGHTMRE and Louis The Child.” Even New Orleans' “Afro beat/Funk/anything from 70s-80s” DJ legend, DJ Soul Sister, has coined Buku Fest as her favorite festival, describing the love and energy through music is unlike any other. It’s also the first time she gets to perform her all-vinyl set on Buku’s main stage.
The hip-hop and EDM focussed lineup showcases just the right mix of headliner acts and up-and-coming artists to keep the dance party pumping and interesting for its two-day duration. As a Buku Fest veteran, I’ve compiled a list of “Buku Bests" for 2016.
10. “Too Buku” Line Up Video Announcement. The video is a crazy animation of Buku twerkers setting the mood for a dance-filled two days and a must-listen theme song for your festival pre-game party!
9. Bukulture. There are always surprise celebrations of kulture at Buku Fest from fashion shows to cookouts. Look out for new interactive elements this year.
8. Two-Day Live Gallery Art Installations. Watch the festival literally come alive through the hands and hearts of the best artists from across the world.
7. S.S. Buku Riverboat package. This VIP package is well worth the experience. Who doesn’t appreciate an open bar, an amazing view of the Mississippi River and exclusive interactive performances?
6. Partying with a purpose! 50 cents from each ticket purchased is donated to Upbeat Academy, the city’s only free music business program offered to students in the community, giving them an opportunity to learn the music business and develop their musical talents by providing the tools and equipment they need to grow. Visit www.upbeatacademy.org for more info.
5. AlunaGeorge. English Electropop Duo, consisting of instrumentalist George Reid and singer/songwriter Aluna Francis’s soulful vocals, will provide a great dance party with their live set. The duo gained some serious momtemun with their “You Know You Like It” EDM track and are starting 2016 strong as they are also set to rock the stages of California’s Coachella Festival, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and Shaky Beats festival in Atlanta.
4. Casey Veggies. One of the youngest artists on the bill, Inglewood native rapper Casey Veggies came into the hip-hop game with the force of a lyrical veteran, equipped with a strong voice to awaken hip-hop music for ages. Although we can gather from songs such as “Backflip” and “Tied Up” with Def Loaf that he is a ladies' man, Veggies has a lot to say on his debut album Live and Grow about the growing pains in the music industry as well as life in general. Veggies is already working on his second studio album to release later this year. No stranger to New Orleans with family in Alexandria, LA, Veggies expressed his love for New Orleans culture and food, declaring Acme Seafood his top choice. I expect a high energy performance from the young artist, because “Hennything can happen when in The City”.
3. Kid Cudi. The self-proclaimed “lonely stoner” has many titles including Grammy Award winning rapper, songwriter and actor. Cudi’s music has a multidimensional sound delivering honesty and venerability over guitar riffs and dance tracks. I’m looking forward to Cudi’s acoustic guitar renditions of his songs like the January release of Confused, which he recorded in one take might I add. We might even get the chance to hear unreleased music from his highly anticipated album Speeding Bullet To Heaven.
2. Pretty Lights. Pretty Lights reigns the festival world as one of the best electronic dance experiences of our time! Derek Vincent Smith aka Pretty Lights, owner of label Pretty Lights Music, has been creating his own sound since junior high, a sound that has evolved into a beautiful blend of soul, hip-hop, funk and electronic. This year, Pretty Lights is reaching beyond the music partnering with Electric Family and Upbeat Academy to make exclusive charity bracelets to raise funds for the academy. “In this moment though, this bracelet is a real opportunity to begin embracing a more compassionate and less selfish manner of existing within our wonderful world of playlists and festivals.”
1. Future. A hip-hop heavy hitter, Future dominated the Billboard charts as well as everyone’s playlists with mesmerizing trap chants for most of 2015. The international King of Trap music, Future ranks #14 on the Billboard 200 chart and #33 on Billboard’s Top 100 Artist of 2015. What A Time To Be Alive, a collaborative mixtape with Drake, was released in September 2015 and sold over 500,000 copies before the year ended. What A Time To Be Alive is pretty much my go-to mixtape to pregame for the night, to amp up my energy level from 0 to 100. This man is known for dropping hit after hit without announcement on a consistent basis, a majority for free on the mixtape circuit. Currently on his Purple Reign tour with special guest Ty Dolla Sign, one can’t help but hope he graces the stage as well. “Jumpman Jumpman” Buku’s up to something!