For those who attended the second Buku Music and Art Project last March, the festival was a success. But those who lived downriver had mixed feelings, as the sound from the main stage carried from Mardi Gras World to the French Quarter and Bywater.
Buku put general admission and VIP tickets on sale this week for its third year, which will take place March 21 and 22, 2014, and organizers said they’ve taken steps to address the noise.
According to co-producer and co-founder Reeves Price of Winter Circle Productions, the problem took the producers by surprise, but they have taken steps to limit the festival’s impact on the city in 2014.
They met with the City Council members from the affected neighborhoods to assess the festival’s sonic footprint and to reassure them that they could minimize it.
“Once we assessed the damage, then we put together a plan to reinstall confidence in them that we can do this right,” Price said.
Discussions with audio engineers led to the conclusion that the downriver sound bleed was a technological problem that could be solved by reorienting the stage and the public address system, and choosing speakers that throw sound more narrowly.
The Mumford and Sons show that Winter Circle produced in September was an opportunity to prove that their efforts would work.
“We put together the plan that we said we would, we ended the show at 10, and it went great,” Price says.
Organizers, however, don’t plan to end Buku quite that early. The outdoor stage will close at 11 p.m., but the festival will continue. “We’ll still have indoor music going for a while after that,” Price said.
“Part of the reason we got ourselves in that position was the event grew so fast and on so many levels,” Price said.
Last year’s Buku added Huka Productions as a co-producer. Huka also produces The Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala. That made it possible for Buku to add stages and spend more on talent than it did in its first year.
“It was a bigger lineup, a bigger production and a bigger budget,” Price said.
The Buku lineup will be released to the public next month.