Halloween in New Orleans

New Orleans is a mystical and, in many ways, mythical place. The city, also known as “the birthplace of jazz” is definitely a place of spiritual mystery, awe, and fascination. That’s the mystical portion. As far as its mythicology, the city fits all into all the accepted descriptions, definitions and delineations of the word–it is fabled, fabulous, folkloric, fantastical, storied and idealized. In short it is a legendary place…its musical traditions has been at the forefront of virtually all American musical genres including jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, hip-hop, dance-pop and even heavy metal. It has been said that all American music can either be traced back to New Orleans or has taken a road through the city.
Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Eve. Historically, in the Christian faith All Hallows’ Eve is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints, martyrs, and all the faithful departed. We all know it a yearly celebration where people wear costumes, attend parties and generally play dress-up as they party the night away. Children dress-up and go trick-or-treating throughout their neighborhoods. Neighborhoods and municipalities have many different events including: costume parties, contests for carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires, apple bobbing contests and haunted house attractions. Horror and occult themes abound.
Voodoo is a religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries that unites Roman Catholic ritual elements with magic as performed by the descendants of West African slaves. In the voodoo religion, a supreme God rules a large pantheon of local and tutelary deities, deified ancestors, and saints, who communicate with believers in dreams, trances, and ritual possessions. A voodoo can also be a charm, fetish, spell, or curse holding magic power for adherents of voodoo. Voodoo, however, to many is an event, an event that only New Orleans can host.
Each year the city of New Orleans melds its mythology, mysticism, religious practices and musical history with the traditions of Halloween when it hosts The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. The three-day festival, formerly known as The Voodoo Music Experience and most-often referred to as Voodoo or Voodoo Fest, is held in New Orleans’ City Park. Over the past fifteen years, the festival has hosted over 2000 artists and close to a million fans. The festival has always been scheduled on the weekend closes to Halloween. This year, Voodoo Fest actually encompasses the holiday, starting on Halloween, Friday, October 31, and it continuing through Sunday, November 2.
Because of its diverse artist roster (its musical line-up features performers from almost every genre of music imaginable: jazz, blues, rock, funk, hip-hop, pop, EDM, worldbeat and heavy metal), Voodoo is clearly the best yearly concert experience in New Orleans. While the festival’s motto is “Worship the Music,” it is more than just a musical celebration. It also features world class food, art and interactive opportunities scattered throughout the City Park festival grounds.
During the past fifteen years, since its 1999 debut, the VOODOO EXPERIENCE has called City Park in New Orleans its home. The festival has played host to local and international music superstars including: Pearl Jam, The Cure, Jack White, Wyclef Jean, Ben Folds, Rage Against The Machine, Kiss, R.E.M., The Pixies, Dr. John, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Thomas Dolby, AWOLNATION, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Silversun Pickups, The Neville Brothers, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irving Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, John Boutte, Death Cab For Cutie, Royal Teeth, Panic At The Disco, Joss Stone, Interpol, The New Orleans Jazz Vipers, Marc Broussard, Irma Thomas, Cowboy Mouth, 50 Cent, Ozzy Osbourne, MUSE, My Morning Jacket, Weezer, MGMT, Jon Cleary, Hot Chip, Florence + The Machine, Buckwheat Zydeco, Galactic, Skrillex, Coheed & Cambria, Younblood Hawke, The Revivalists, Theresa Andersson, Tab Benoit, Paul Sanchez & The Rolling Road Show, Kermit Ruffins, Dave Stewart, Jacob Dylan, Stone Temple Pilots, Cypress Hill, 311, Counting Crows, Live, Blues Traveler, Marilyn Manson, Soundgarden, Snoop Dog, The Raconteurs, Fat Boy Slim, The Original Meters, Ray Davies, My Chemical Romance, Trombone Shorty, The Soul Rebels, Social Distortion, Blink 182, Band of Horses, Fitz & The Tantrums, Cheeky Blakk, X, Ozomatli, Cheap Trick, Fishbone, Mannie Fresh, Iris May Tango and many others.
The festival features numerous large and small stages. Each stage features acts of all genres—it doesn’t matter if the act is a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a new up-and-coming artist, a world class DJ or a local New Orleans performer. Each stage features fantastic performances that leave the audience deliriously happy. A real key to the Voodoo Experience, is its proximity to everywhere. While New Orleans may be in the southern part of the U.S. , it is in the miuddle of the country–making it easily accessible to everyone. Its not that far from anywhere.
This year’s lineup is stellar. Voodoo 2014 headliners include The Foo Fighters, Outkast, Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys, Zedd, AWOLNATION, Slayer, 30 Seconds to Mars, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, The Front Bottoms, Flux Pavilion, Fedde Le Grand, Manchester Orchestra, Claude Vonstroke, Galantis and dozens more. New Orleans stars in the lineup include Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, The Soul Rebels, Bonerama, Royal Teeth, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Givers, Royal Teeth, The Revivalists, and The Rebirth Brass Band.
There is still more than enough time to book your flights or Amtrak passage and stays in a number of very nice 3 or more star New Orleans hotels. Special deals at discounted rates through Voodoo partners are available through The Voodoo Experience at: http://2014voodooexperience.eventtek.com. The festival also offers on-site camping. Details can be found at: http://worshipthemusic.com/camp-voodoo.
Voodoo Experience tickets (also called credentials) can be obtained at thevoodooexperience.com and at https://www.festivalticketing.com/boxoffice. A single day ticket can be had for $73. The 3-day weekend ticket is a general admission ticket that grants you in/out privileges all weekend long. The weekend pass ticket costs $175. Tickets to the The LOA Lounge, a special place with special privileges – which include everything from reserved on site parking to grandstand seating next to the main stage — must be purchased in advance and are on sale for $500 each. For a one-of-a-kind Voodoo Experience, there is the $2,500 (for two persons) 3-day Rites of Passage Package. In addition to two tickets, this special package offers: exclusive backstage and stage access, access to Soundboard Viewing Area at The Ritual Stage, access to the Artist Lounge and Artist Bar, all Loa credential amenities and benefits and much more.
If you go, don’t forget to bring your love of music, your crappiest footwear (the kind you’re not worried about ruining and/or getting muddy) – New Orleanians call them Jazz Fest Sneakers — and plenty of Sun Block.
There is always a chance of hurricane weather and fierce fall storms in the area. Let’s hope that it is a mild season and that the region is undamaged.
And remember, when all else is lost and life gets you down, the music is always your friend!

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