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BUKU Music Festival – The Ultimate New Orleans Getaway [Review]

Thanks again for joining our New Orleans’ Finest Tour!

Now if you look over to your right, you’ll see a large group of festival goers from all over the world smiling as hard as they did when they first discovered their favorite band, their most beloved rapper, and their most idolized producer that they’ve now seen live at least five times. Folks, we have officially reached our final stop of this beautiful New Orleans excursion, the gloriously decorated BUKU Music and Art Project! Here are some tips before walking in! (All photos included were shot by Alive Coverage.)

  • Leave any current problems and mental stress outside the gate please, BUKU is a place of happiness, rejuvenation and bliss.
  • Feed yourself well before coming in! But after you dance around for a while, explore the many food vendors that are here to serve you! New Orleans is known for its incredible food, and the in-festival vendors are no exception.
  • Don’t forget to bring your snazziest outfits! NoLa is known for wonderful creatures roaming around the streets sporting their craziest and wackiest outfits. Be ready to see A LOT of swagger at BUKU.
  • Bring little gifts! You never know what beautiful soul you may cross during your BUKU experience – and there’s nothing like watching someone glow because of little tiny dinosaur, some insanely wacky stickers, or even pieces of quartz that were dug up from your hometown!
  • The MOST IMPORTANT TIP: Be ready to DANCE your heart out!

Well, my friends! This concludes the final part of your New Orleans Riddim Professor River Boat Tour! Now get ready to party, we’ve officially made it to the BUKU Music & Arts Project! 

I’m trying to get a little more creative with my reviews. Did I actually make you feel like you were on a one of a kind special guided boat tour on the Mississippi River, just moments away from embarking on one of the most exciting weekend’s of your life? I sure hope so my friends. Lets break down what I was blessed enough to experience on my unforgettable New Orleans getaway for my first Buku Music & Arts Project experience.

I honestly don’t know if I would have made to this sound haven without the encouragement of my Massachusetts Dino Gang, but there I was crossing the border of Louisiana as my little red chevy kicked up dust into the southern edge of the Bear State. There’s nothing like the first fives minutes of any music festival – from taking a shot of tequila then quickly chasing it down with vodka with your brother Rob in the woods of Maryland, to discovering a wave pool and a gnarly stage where 12th Planet had everyone in an absolute Riddim trance in the mountains of Pennsylvania, to catching the last few verses of Earl Sweatshirt in New Orleans

The first five minutes are typically some of the most memorable of any music festival experience. I haven’t seen (nor heard, because I definitely didn’t see him perform) Earl rap his eloquent, dark and slow paced lyrics in a live setting since 2015, so I was really stoked to at least hear the voice of a musician that really influenced my musical experience during my high school days. The mere reminder that OFWGKTA is one of the greatest collective known to man really gave me a boost of energy for my day at Buku. But then I quickly looked at the schedule that I just picked up and realized that Liquid Stranger was playing at the other side of this mini music carnival. Naturally, the bass drew me back to my Massachusetts Dino Gang once again. 

Run, Run, Run! That’s what my brain was telling the lower half of my body to do – I was in such a hurry to really get my Buku experience going, and that couldn’t happen without the Massholes. Ain’t no party like a Dino Gang party. I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the Brasil Brothers (Kevin and Pedro) at my first Electric Forest experience in 2018 – this eventually led me to meeting the youngest of the three, Brian (aka the number offensive shooter in Massachusetts), and his graciously comical, one-line-king roommate, Tyler. With the five of us in a small radius of each other, we felt like we had the world in our hands. At least I did. These kids are seriously amazing, and if you ever get the pleasure of meeting them at a show or festival, be ready to get swarmed with little dinosaurs and good laughs.

I finally caught up with the Dino Gang for a massive performance by an alien disguised as a Swedish psychology graduate, Dubstep producer and record label leader. The government recognizes the intergalactic phenomenon as Liquid Stranger. I feel like every time I watch the head honcho of Wakaan take over any stage, I lose a little bit less of whatever inkling of humanity I have left, and continue to transform into my true self that I was destined to be. A wobbly alien from the planet Nevyz who does nothing but dance with his buddies.

Liquid Stranger didn’t hold back in playing any of my favorite tunes like “Gunslinger or “Burn Like Sun“, a heartfelt collaboration made with one of the first people that ever agreed to do an interview with The Charlotte Sessions. Leah Culver is a proud Atlanta native with a voice as a beautiful as the onset sight of the first snow of any winter morning. Or in this case, as beautiful as the alligator po-boy I eaten the following day. Fans of his new 2019 thirty track album, Infinity, were heavily taken care of during this performance. But how does one follow up a Liquid Stranger show in New Orleans? With a massive performance by GRiZ with some really good friends.

It’s safe to say that GRiZ will always be one of the most exciting acts to ever hit any line up – not only because his tunes make you feel great inside, or because everyone in the crowd seems to be sporting a smile bigger than than all of the hand grenades I saw in the French Quarter put together, or maybe even because the content of a lot of his music is truly uplifting. I enjoy watching GRiZ because of his happy go lucky attitude that seamlessly takes over the spirits of thousands of dance fanatics everywhere I go.

This was the first time I had seen GRiZ perform since his Charlotte showdown at Breakaway, so I was definitely pumped to be watching him with my friends who put him above most artists. Kevin, Pedro, Bryan and Tyler are huge fans of the Detroit based saxmaster, and there’s nothing like watching a musician you really appreciate with friends who love him even more! I could sit here and keep talking about the love and energy that was flowing throughout the crowd during GRiZ hour at BUKU, or, I could show you. Much love to Youtuber Landon Hayes for capturing thirteen minutes of incredible GRiZ action!

This was the part of my adventure where I needed to venture off on my own for a bit to go explore. When I read the name We Came As Romans on the daily lineup, I knew that I would really enjoy watching a classic favorite for many of my punk rock friends from my middle and high school days – they always had great taste in music. I never caught the bug as seriously as they did, but I knew that it would still be an incredible experience to catch the Michigan based band live in action. To say that this wasn’t the rowdiest set I had experienced all day would be a bold lie.

I had never seen so many mosh pits in such a short period of time, but the fans were really getting excited at the sound of their favorite, timeless classics like “Broken Statues“. What I really enjoyed about the We Came As Romans performance was the variety among the people raging in the crowd – it was really nice watching Bass aliens, Rock headbangers, and Hip-Hop fanatics all thrashing about together. I’m so used to going to solely EDM/Dubstep festivals, so it was a fresh to get a little break from the usual routine. I definitely recommend catching We Came As Romans if they happen to be playing anywhere near you!

I was a little confused as to why Getter and Oliver Tree were performing at the same time, but then again, I don’t have a say in how the schedule is made. I feel like if I would have never booked Getter for my first concert in 2016, I wouldn’t have learned about his relationship with Oliver Tree, and how he came up in the scene because of the lessons and teachings that he instilled on the Los Angeles radical dude. Sadly, Oliver Tree was nowhere to be found in the Float Den – but everything in this world happens for a reason. At least I was able to discover a really neat room where all the Mardi Gras floats are stored throughout the year. Throughout this whole experience, I managed to meet two cool fellas from southern Mississippi named Jacob and Aasin. They were really excited to be in New Orleans for the weekend, and I was excited to have met them. Aasin is also a great producer who goes by the name of Captain Zoot, and I can’t wait to continue to experience his musical growth!

We made our way over to the Wharf to go witness a special Visceral set crafted by none other than the Suh Dude vinestar himself. I was lucky enough to catch Getter perform his heart out in Lawrence, Kansas earlier that week – but there’s nothing like catching him at a music festival. The last time I had seen him perform at a festival was at Baltimore’s Moonrise Fest, several years ago. But times have changed, and Getter’s evolution was inevitable. It was by far one of the most special performances I have ever been a part of. Getter was feeling the New Orleans crowd and the crowd was feeling him right back – the synchronicity between my favorite California producer and his supporters had never felt so real. Here’s a video by whoisbrian so that you can be a part of the experience too. Also, thank you for playing “Something New“, it was beautiful man. Cheers to you Getter!

At this point, Aasin and I were looking for Jacob because he had disappeared to the bathroom for a bit longer than we expected. But it wasn’t until we made it to the Power Plant where Harlem rhyme mogul A$AP Rocky was performing his newest hits from his recent Test Lab project, and several older gems as well. I’m really big into Rocky – he was actually one of the first rappers I had ever witnessed live before (at the Fillmore Charlotte), so it was refreshing to see him perform so far away from the East Coast.

I know I can’t be the only one who really digs the eerie beat behind “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2,” it was an intense performance to say the least. Call it cliche, but my absolute favorite memory of this set was when Rocky got the crow moshing like crazy before unleashing his fan favorite Skrillex collab “Wild For the Night“. It was almost like he was hypnotizing the crowd as he repeated the words “mosh pit” over and over again – also, the moment of nostalgia really did a lot for me that night. You better believe the crowd turned into a beautiful, tripped out body of pure unity when Rocky dropped “LSD“. Anyways, I love you Jodye Flacko.

I was thrilled to make my way back to the Float Den for a few moments to witness the likes of California’s virus genius, G Jones, throw down some insane tracks from his new Ineffable Truth project. There’s no doubt in this world that I will support G Jones until the end of time – he’s wildly creative and puts a lot of time and passion into his craft. The Float Den was by far the best place the creators of Buku could have allowed him to perform because of the strange energy given by the countless over zealous, yet beautifully crafted massive floats that surrounded the room.

The first time I watched G Jones show off his magic was in Atlanta in early 2015, and the growth that this creator has gone through since the “Secret Krabby Patty Formula” days is impressive. There’s nothing like making insanely weird motions with your legs and arms to tunes like “DIFFERENT SOUND” and “SOUNDTRACK TO THE MACHINE“. I started thinking about my Detroit home skillet, Rachel, one of the biggest G Jones fans alive, whenever he played “Time“. It was like you were right there with me Rach! Thank you Greg, that was a true finesse if I’ve ever seen one. (Peep this extensive video that Alicia shared on YouTube!)

If you would have told me that I was going to end up at a $uicideboy$ set this year, I would have looked at you in the eyes and called you crazy. I’ve been trying to get away from the darker and more rugged side of life recently, and I feel like what I had first heard from the $uicideboy$ didn’t necessarily align with that mission. But after writing them off for such a long time because of their style, I decided to shove my preconceived notions about the local New Orleans duo way down the pits of my pockets and watch their set from a subjective point of view. I have two words for how I felt about their set. BAD ASS.

Ruby da Cherry and $crim have such an insane amount of energy when they’re performing, that it’s almost impossible not to dig their meticulous flow. While I honestly didn’t know much about their musical creations before checking out their set, I was completely blown away by the engagement they had with the thousands of fans who knew every lyric to their twisted tunes – it seemed so fluid, so natural, so authentic. And that’s what I like most about seeing musicians live. The authenticity!

Skrillex. Skrillex. Skrillex. If you say the man’s name three times in front of your bathroom mirror and spin in a full 720 circle, he might show up at a festival in New Orleans with Boys Noize to play a proper set under their duo alias, Dog Blood. I never thought I’d see the day where Skrill would play on a massive stage before my very eyes again. I thought that catching him with Diplo as JACK U was already a special enough experience – but watching him throw down the second time around was even more satisfying. My legs were focused on one thing – keeping up with the rhythm that Dog Blood was spreading throughout the crowd of thousands of eager Soony Moore fanatics. It was a funky experience to say the least – hearing all that unreleased music really found its way straight into the part of my brain that tells my body how to dance and groove. Bravo for making such a strong come back gentlemen!

Well, that’s a wrap folks. I hope you enjoyed my recap on Buku! I truly hope you get to experience this wonderful festival for yourself one day. And if you have, what was your favorite memory? Drop us a message on one of our social media platforms below!

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– Zyven
(The Riddim Professor)

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