101 Runners tribute to Big Chief Bo Dollis with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and mebers of the O on the Preservation Hall stage during the first day of Voodoo Fest at City Park in New Orleans, Friday, October 26, 2012 . (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, ) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; USA TODAY OUT; THE BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE OUT
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Techno-dance beats vibrated across City Park in New Orleans on Friday as the group Force Feed Radio opened at one of five stages at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.
As some concert-goers danced in front of the stage to the New Orleans-based group’s beats, others enjoyed the music from the shade of the park’s centuries-old oak trees.
The three-day festival’s lineup includes Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Avett Brothers, Bootsy Collins, Kaskade and the rock band Say Anything.
For some, the festival is an opportunity to celebrate Halloween a little early. New Orleans natives Alexandra Ibieta and Kate Pesquie, both 19, were dressed as troll dolls, with their hair spray-painted to match their bright pink-and-green tutu skirts.
“We always dress up. It enhances the experience,” Pesquie said, adding that she’s attended Voodoo for five consecutive years. “Last year we dressed up like Teletubbies. We have fun with it.”
There were a few other fest-goers in costumes that included skeletons, pink bunnies and super heroes, but most enjoyed the event dressed in plain clothes.
Voodoo will include nearly 100 acts on five stages at City Park this weekend. In its 14th year, Voodoo is a musical gumbo in the genres of rock, metal, blues, hip-hop and electronica. Saturday’s headliners include Metallica and Justice. On Sunday, Jack White, Nas and Marcia Ball perform.
The grounds, set along grassy tree-lined thoroughfares behind the New Orleans Museum of Art, were dotted with eye-catching art sculptures such as colorful spinning pole-mounted pinwheels, a giant metal “mud bug,” lighted cone and mechanized metal face.
Friday also included a Mardi Gras Indian tribute to Big Chief Bo Dollis, with Indians singing and dancing in elaborated head-dresses and tunics.
Stephen Rehage, the festival’s producer, said he had to move the stage geared for disc jockeys and electronic music to a location that could accommodate more concert-goers because last year the fan base was spilling over into other stage areas.
“That stage has really become a destination,” Rehage said. “Some people go to that stage and don’t move all day.”
The stage opened in its new spot Friday with performances by Force Feed Radio, Beverly Skillz and Ryan Raddo, the Chicago-native disc jockey known as Kaskade who has released seven studio albums, including his latest, “Fire & Ice,” and has created remixes for Lady Gaga, Beyonce and others.
Grammy-winning Skrillex is scheduled to close out the stage on Sunday. Performing ahead of him are Israeli disc jockey Borgore and the London-based electronic rock band Modestep.
Festival-goers say the energy at the electronic music stage is unparalleled.
“It’s an amazing energy, and to be in the middle of that crowd where the energy is nonstop all day, there’s just nothing like it,” Rehage added.
This was the first year overnight tent camping was available by reservation on the festival grounds. There was a site with 300 small tents and, separately, about 30 VIP sites with tents already pitched that included electricity, queen-sized beds, small refrigerators and carpeted floors.
“It’s amazing, way better than we expected,” said Angel McCoy, who bought the upgraded tent experience with her husband, Brett Tucker, for $2,500. The price included tickets for each day of the festival and backstage passes.
“It was worth every penny,” said Tucker, 45, who added that he was anticipating Friday night’s performance by Neil Young. He said seeing Young perform live was “on my bucket list.”
The couple, from the Florida Keys, said this was their first time at Voodoo and the tent-camping option was a huge selling point in getting them there.
“We love attending music festivals. It’s our thing,” said McCoy, 36. “Staying here on the grounds, we can come and go like we want, and we don’t have to deal with things like taxis. Everything we need is here. It’s awesome.”
Celebrities were also expected to be at Voodoo.
Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy Osbourne, has attended Voodoo before and was to lead festival-goers through various activities such as flash mobs and conga lines while serving as an on-site anchor for Fuse, a national TV network dedicated to music.