The Voodoo Experience…13 Is A Lucky Number

As many of you know Voodoo can be defined as a religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, that unites Roman Catholic ritual elements with the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa. It can also be a charm, fetish, spell, or curse holding magic power for adherents of voodoo. To many it is music—not religion. Or maybe the music is the religion. Yeah, that’s it. If you ask me what is Voodoo, I’ll tell you that it is the best damn concert experience/festival in the New Orleans. Bar none. Better than French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summer Fest and Jazz Fest. Voodoo is clearly the best yearly concert experience in New Orleans.
This year marks New Orleans’ 13th Voodoo Experience. The 13th Ritual, a three day affair is set for City Park in New Orleans on Halloween Weekend—October 28-30, 2011. The festival is both a musical celebration featuring almost every genre of music imaginable, world class food, art and interactive opportunities scattered throughout City Park.
During the past twelve 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: Wyclef Jean, Ben Folds, Dr. John, Rage Against The Machine, Kiss, R.E.M., The Pixies, Dr. John, The Meters, Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, The Neville Brothers, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irving Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, John Boutte, Death Cab For Cutie, Panic At The Disco, Joss Stone, 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, Theresa Andersson, Tab Benoit, Paul Sanchez & The Rolling Road Show, Kermit Ruffins, Jacob Dylan, Stone Temple Pilots, Cypress Hill, 311, Counting Crows, Live, Blues Traveler, Marilyn Manson and may others.
The festival features six stages and three distinct lineups: Le Ritual, Le Flambeau and Le Carnival. Each line-up highlights a unique side of New Orleans’ vibe and personality. So why, you may ask am I going on and on about a music festival in another state about 1,500 miles away. Because it’s WORTH IT. This year’s headliners include Soundgarden, Snoop Dog, The Raconteurs, Fat Boy Slim, The Original Meters, Ray Davies, My Chemical Romance, The Soul Rebels, Social Distortion, Blink 182, Band of Horses, Futz & The Tantrums, Cheeky Blakk, X, Ozomatli, Cheap Trick, Dr. John, Fishbone, Mannie Fresh, Iris May Tango and others.
If you’re thinking about driving from this area to New Orleans—be forewarned. It’s approximately 1,500 miles and will take over 24 hours depending upon how many stops you make along the way. With the current price of a gallon of gas ($3.50 or more), budget your trip with that in mind. Greyhound standard roundtrip fares begin at approximately $400. Web fares and advanced fares can be as little as $180 each way. Amtrak takes over 34 hours each way and a roundtrip ticket will cost about $450.
If you fly, you can still get (as of this writing) roundtrip airfare leaving from Boston on Thursday, October 27th and returning on Monday, October 31st starting at about $429 (including taxes and airport fees). Flight time is about 5 ½ hours with one stop. Roundtrip airfare from Hartford will cost about $529 Including taxes and airport fees. You can pick up a rental car (Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Dollar, National, Thrifty, Budget, Hertz, etc.) at the airport. If you use priceline.com and name your own price you can get a car for about $12-$15 per day. Or you can take a cab for about $35 plus tip from the airport to your hotel. Cab pick-up is on the lower level, outside the baggage claim area. Rates vary depending upon the number of people in your party and the amount of luggage. United Cabs can be reached at: 504-522-9771 or 504-524-9606. Some hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. There is also the airport shuttle van. Round trips average about $40 per person.
There is still time to book your stay in a number of very nice 3 or more star New Orleans hotels. A quick look at Expedia.com, Orbitz.com and Priceline.com shows that there are plenty of good deals on hotels (approximately $180 per night) available in the French Quarter, The Warehouse District and The Garden District. Keep in mind that it is Halloween weekend; you’ll have to make your reservations quickly.
Voodoo Experience tickets can be obtained at thevoodooexperience.com. A general admission ticket can be had for $60. The 3-day weekend ticket is a general admission ticket that grants you in/out privileges all weekend long. The weekend pass ticket costs $150. 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.
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.

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