BUKU festival returns to the Big Easy

BUKU Music + Art Project -- a progressive and eclectic combination of music, art and food -- is back in the Big Easy for 2013. Led by artists like Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi and Calvin Harris, the event’s second year promises to be even better than the first. BUKU will take place March 8 and 9 at the famed Mardi Gras World, one of the leading production houses for Mardi Gras floats.

With only one year under its belt, the success of BUKU has been better than anyone expected. BUKU co-presenter Reeves Price is excited for the future of the festival.

“The amount of growth and support we’ve been shown from year one to year two has been tremendous,” Price said. “We’ve been provided great support by our partners in this year’s event and for years to come from Huka Entertainment, MCP Presents and of course, all the awesome people that have bought tickets to the show.”

Set against the backdrop of the old Market Street Power Plant, BUKU’s main stage is different from most concert setups. A sophisticated ballroom will be home to a second stage that is completely sound-isolated.

New for 2013, a third stage is being added in “The Float Den” where Mardi Gras floats are manufactured. There will also be a stage on the Riverfront for late night changeover sets and the VIP-only S.S. BUKU, also known as the Creole Queen Riverboat, will be docked along the grounds of the BUKU festival.

Set in one of the world’s most renowned food centers, BUKU will also feature many local food stands and restaurants. Festival-goers will be treated to food choices unique to the Crescent City and its environs. Last year’s attendees experienced a variety of alternatives from Woody’s Fish Tacos, The Green Fork and Crêpes à la Cart.

Several art projects will also help set the tone for the festival. Exhibits will be set up throughout the festival grounds, and each will serve a different purpose. Some can be used by festival attendees, while others are designed to be merely admired. The art installations from last year’s festival include Bukove, Laser Graffiti, Pinkometry and The Fighting Fish Tank. This year’s lineup will not be made public until the festival opens.

While the food and art installations are an amazing part of BUKU, the excitement that comes from the music is the shining star. With acts from all over the world, there is something for everyone in this two-day musical extravaganza.

“We pick bands, producers, DJ’s and rappers that we like and we know a lot of other people like,” Price said. “We also look for artists that have a great live show or that we may find particularly interesting or challenging for our attendees.”

With acts that span the globe, New Orleans has no choice but to throw in some of its best. With over 10 acts from the New Orleans area, local musicians will definitely be represented at BUKU.

Kid Kamillion, a New Orleans DJ and music producer, is ready to get the crowd going for his sophomore performance at BUKU.

“I was involved last year, but only for a quick set in between the headliners Avicci & Wiz Khalifa,” Kamillion said. “That was under my Force Feed Radio project with Money P. It was mad crazy. Once in a lifetime kind of deal and the biggest audience I ever played in front of.”

Outside of this great festival, Kid Kamillion whose real name is Bryan Normand, can be found at various venues around New Orleans.

“I try to maintain a monthly residency with most venues in New Orleans,” Kamillion said, adding that the city’s rich musical culture keeps him sharp whether he is producing music or working as a DJ.

After BUKU, Kid Kamillion will take a short trip to Miami for the last weekend of Ultra Music Festival. The following week, he will headline his first party at XOYO, a club in Shoreditch, London.

Coming off Big Freedia’s Birthday Extravaganza and making her first appearance at BUKU will be New Orleans’ own Queen Diva, Big Freedia. Coined “The Queen Diva of New Orleans Bounce,” Freedia is looking forward to her performance at BUKU and promises fans a spectacular experience.

“Fans can expect a very energetic and full show,” Freedia said. “It’s local and at home, so I’ll be able to bring out the full staff, all my dancers, my DJ, so we’ll be able to give a very good show. We’re really excited. This is our first year at BUKU, and we are going to bring the New Orleans party to the level it should be.”

The mixture of music, food, and art creates the perfect mix for a festival that truly caters to all its attendees, and there is no place other than New Orleans that should host such an event.

“New Orleans is the most culturally significant city in the country,” Price said. “We have always loved living here, working here and supporting the local economy.”

Gates open for BUKU Friday, March 8, at 3 p.m. and the music runs from 4 p.m. through approximately 3 a.m.

For more information on BUKU, check out the festival’s website at www.thebukuproject.com