The Voodoo Experience: New Orleans Here We Come!

Voodoo, to many, is much more than 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.
To many the Voodoo Experience means music—not religion. Perhaps music is the religion. Yeah, that’s it. If you ask us, “What is Voodoo?”…we’ll tell you that it is a trip to New Orleans for the best concert festival. That’s best E. V. E. R.! Bar none. Better than any festival in New Orleans — French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summer Fest, even JazzFest. In our opinion, Voodoo is clearly the best yearly concert experience in New Orleans.
This year marks New Orleans’ 14th Voodoo Experience, a three day affair is set for City Park in New Orleans on Halloween Weekend—October 26-28, 2012. 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 thirteen 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, Rage Against The Machine, Kiss, R.E.M., The Pixies, Dr. John, 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, 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, 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. So why, you may ask am I going on and on about a music festival in another state and over 500 miles from Dallas. Because it isn’t that far and it’s WORTH IT. This year’s headliners include: Green Day, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Silversun Pickups, Jack White, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Marcia Ball, Kaskade, Bootsy Collins, Paul Sanchez & The Rolling Road Show, Thomas Dolby, Dash Rip Rock, The Lost Bayou ramblers with The Givers and The Preservation Hall Horns, Supagroup, George Porter & The Runnin’ Pardners, Say Anthing, C.C. Adcock, Anders Osborne, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Dave Stewart, The Soul Rebels, The Avett Brothers, The Treme Brass Band, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Debauche, Kid Koala, Skrillex, Coheed & Cambria, Nas 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 ($4.00 or more), budget your trip with that in mind. Greyhound web fares and advanced fares can be as little as $220 each way—but it takes about 36 hours. You’ll have to leave on Wednesday, October 24th. Amtrak takes over 34 hours each way and a roundtrip ticket will cost about $450. As with Greyhound, You will have to leave on October 24th.
If you fly, you can still get (as of this writing) roundtrip airfare leaving from Boston on Thursday, October 25th and returning on Monday, October 29th starting at about $425 (plus taxes, airport and baggage fees). Flight time is about 5½ hours with one stop. Roundtrip airfare from Hartford starts at $500 plus taxes, airport and baggage 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-$20 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 averages about $40 per person.
There is still more than enough 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 (between $175 and $225 per night) available inside and around the French Quarter. Special deals are available through The Voodoo Experience at http://2012voodooexperience.eventtek.com/index.cfm. The Hiatt Regency New Orleans and Wyndham Garden Hotel Baronne Plaza both have $199 per night room rates, the Holiday Inn Downtown-Superdome has rates beginning at $143 per night. If those chains aren’t your cup of tea, there are quite a few others listed on the site.
Voodoo Experience tickets can be obtained at thevoodooexperience.com. A 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 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’re looking for an all inclusive package, DMI Travel (http://www.dmitravel.com/voodoo-music-experience.html) is providing travel packages. The two night package costs between $249 and $549 (per person based on 1-4 people sharing a room) and comes with one-day admission to the festival, hotel stay at the Astor Crowne Plaza or Wyndham Whitney Hotel and shuttle transportation between your hotel and the Voodoo Experience. Three day (with admission two-day admission/roundtrip shuttle to the festival) and four day packages (with three-day admission/roundtrip shuttle to the festival) are also available. Each includes three-day passes to the festival and can be purchased for between $389 and $1,079 per person based on 1-4 people sharing a room).
Onsite Crossroads Camping is also available for festival attendees at thevoodooexperience.com. Pricing starts at $150 for 4 nights for 2 people and rises accordingly: 4 nights for 2 people and parking is $165, 150 for 4 nights for 3 people is $200 and 4 nights for 3 people is 215. These prices do not include festival tickets. Festival tickets are required for access to the campgrounds. Festival tickets MUST be purchased separately.
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. Till next time.

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