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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MH's VOODOO Experience 2011 coverage A.K.A--- Lisa Papale's TOP 10 awesome things about VOODOO!!!!!!


by Lisa Papale
Photos by Clay Hardwick
November 15, 2011

I have a confession to make. Until this year, I had never attended the Voodoo Music Experience. I know, I know—as a native New Orleanian, it’s shameful. Sacrilege, even. But thanks to the lovely folks at Mississippi Happening, I got the opportunity of a lifetime: I was sent to this year’s festival to cover the action and interview some amazing bands, so that our readers could get a feel for the experience as if they were right there with me. I had an amazing time, for sure!

So, here goes:


1. Seeing bands I love and have wanted to see.

Naturally, it makes sense that the best part of any music festival would be the music. At Voodoo, though, there is just so much to see—with six stages, it’s next to impossible to see every single performance that is going on. There is literally always a performance going on during the festival—which isn’t generally a problem, until two bands that you really want to see happen to have overlapping performance times. Which happened to me a lot, actually. That’s ok, though—I still got to see every band I wanted to see before I had to leave Sunday afternoon.

Mates of State

Husband-and-wife duo Mates of State wowed the crowd on Friday afternoon at Le Ritual, Voodoo’s main stage.

“Maracas” got everyone in a good mood.

Band of Horses

Band of Horses performed songs from their latest album, Infinite Arms. Front-man, Ben Bridwell.

Band of Horses bassist, Bill Reynolds.

Major Lazer

Major Lazer threw an amazing party during his set on the Le Plur stage, Friday afternoon.

Major Lazer wasn’t afraid to get a little up-close-and-personal with his fans. In fact, by the end of his set, several dozen fans were pulled on stage to dance.


Soundgarden was the band to see Friday night at Le Ritual.

Fans and press alike were excited to see Soundgarden perform classics like “Black Hole Sun.”

Girl Talk

On Saturday night at the Le Plur stage, mash-up artist Girl Talk took to the stage dressed like Freddy Krueger.

It didn’t take long at all for the party to get kicking during Girl Talk’s set.

Girl Talk’s set was definitely a Voodoo-worthy blowout—a high-energy performance full of pyrotechnics, confetti, and costumes.


Blink-182 headlined Le Ritual on Saturday night. I nearly lost it when they played hits like “What’s My Age Again?” and “The Rock Show.”

Blink-182 drummer, Travis Barker.

Portugal. The Man

Portugal. The Man cooled things down at the Bingo! Parlour Le Carnival stage on Sunday afternoon.

Portugal. The Man played songs from their latest album, In the Mountain in the Cloud. This was the set I was most looking forward to during the entire weekend—it definitely lived up to my expectations!

2. Discovering bands that I am now obsessed with.

While some people are primarily concerned with just seeing the bands they know and love perform at festivals like Voodoo, I was most excited about getting to see bands I’d either just been introduced to or had never even heard of at all. Luckily, this year’s lineup provided a number of amazing opportunities to be exposed to great artists I otherwise probably wouldn’t have found on my own.

Quintron and Miss Pussycat

I couldn’t get enough of the offbeat stylings of Quintron and Miss Pussycat.

Miss Pussycat shakes her maracas at the Bingo! Parlour.


Other performers I saw over the weekend that I am now more than moderately obsessed with include: The Wombats, Peelander-Z, Fitz and the Tantrums, The Bangerz, and The Limousines.

3. Hanging out with some amazing musicians.

Part of my trip to this year’s festival included conducting some interviews with some bands for Mississippi Happening! I was excited to sit down and chat with these amazingly talented people—keep your eyes peeled for these upcoming stories, right here at MH!

Kora Konnection

Kora Konnection, a group of traditional African performers, delighted and educated its audiences Friday afternoon at the Preservation Hall stage.

I was thrilled to sit and talk with drummer Jeff Klein after Kora Konnection’s set.

Fort Knox Five

Before our interview with Fort Knox Five, we got to check out their quick performance at the Toyota Free Yr Radio tent.

I got to sit and chat with three of the four core members of Fort Knox Five, Steve Raskin, Jon Horvath, and Rob Myers.

Later on Saturday afternoon, I got to see Fort Knox Five in action during their set on Le Plur.

Happy Talk Band

New Orleans natives Happy Talk Band rocked the Bingo! Parlour Saturday afternoon.

Happy Talk Band.

I got to chat with them about their show coming up this weekend at the Ole Tavern on George Street in Jackson, MS.


Fishbone bassist, John Norwood Fisher, guitarist, Rocky George, & trombonist Jay Armant jam at the Bingo! Parlour on Sunday afternoon.

Fishbone singer and saxophonist, Angelo Moore.

Fishbone’s Angelo is returned to the stage after a crowd surf. I was lucky enough to chat with Moore and Fisher at the festival.

4. Taking photos in the press pit.

On Sunday, photographer Clay Hardwick graciously gave me a chance to take photos from the press pit, so I could get to experience the festival from another perspective. Now, how could I pass that up?


I got to shoot the first song of Givers’ set on Sunday at the Bud Light /WWOZ stage. It’s surreal to get to photograph one of your favorite bands, for sure. After “Saw You First,” I had to bow out and leave the professional photography to Clay.

Givers put on a high energy show that Clay and I both had a lot of fun shooting.

(Don’t forget to check out MH’s interview with GiversTiffany Lamson!)

After a (relatively) successful experience in the pit, Clay said I needed to experience photography from the big pit at the main stage, Le Ritual.

The pit at the main stage can get pretty crowded, especially during sets like Band of Horses.

We decided I would shoot the Odd Future set Sunday afternoon, so I could get the chance to photograph an exciting group. So Clay gave me a crash course in manual photography and sent me on my way.

Despite some slight hang-ups with the Odd Future set, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to photograph the group. I definitely learned a lot about photographing performers, and consequently, I’ve developed a profound respect for photographers and what they do.

5. Seeing some amazing art installations.

People tend to forget that Voodoo is not just about the music—while the music is a crucial part of the festival’s success, the overall experience is what the festival tries to offer its supporters. Large art installations can be found throughout the festival, and they certainly do add another level of interest and importance to the festival.

Giant mushrooms popped up around the Bingo! Parlour and Bud Light/WWOZ stages.

Artists worked on a large-scale collaborative piece all throughout the festival weekend.

Large mechanical statues were prominently displayed throughout City Park.

6. Shopping at some nifty boutiques.

Not only is the Voodoo Experience a great place to catch shows and view amazing art, but it’s also a good place to get your shop on! Dozens of local vendors offer everything from jewelry to hair extensions to voodoo dolls. Shopping at Voodoo is definitely a great way to support local small businesses!

7. Eating alligator for the first time.

Tastes like chicken.

8. Getting amazing ideas for costumes.

Halloween in New Orleans has always been one of my favorite times of the year, simply because you get to see a lot of humor and creativity… but put a few thousand music-loving festival goers in one place, and you see a slew of incredible (and incredibly funny) costumes. It’s just one more thing that adds to the overall charm and appeal of the Voodoo Experience.

9. Making new friends and catching up with old friends.

Aside from meeting talented artists through interviews, I also got to see several talented artists that Mississippi Happening considers dear friends.

Rotary Downs

I was happy to get to see our good friends, New Orleans staple Rotary Downs, perform at the Bingo! Parlour on Saturday afternoon.

The New Orleans Bingo! Show

I was also really glad I could catch up with Ronnie Numbers and Trixie Minx from The New Orleans Bingo! Show on Saturday night! (Luckily, this time, I didn’t have to do the robot.)

10. Being a part of something bigger than myself.

Last but not least, probably one of the most interesting aspects of the Voodoo Experience is the understanding that you’ve spent a weekend with thousands of complete strangers, yet each person will go home with memories of an experience shared by all. It’s simply remarkable to see so many people come together and share their love of music, art, and New Orleans.


For my first Voodoo Experience—not too shabby, New Orleans. Now, as a hardened festival veteran, I’m looking forward to next year’s shindig!

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