This March, BUKU Music + Art Project returns to Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, Louisiana. The name BUKU comes from the French word “beaucoup” meaning “plenty.” The festival has sold out four times during its eight-year span and is an 18+ event. BUKU features a house party atmosphere with past acts including MGMT, SZA, Zhu, and Chance the Rapper. Their 2019 lineup is set to be released sometime this fall.
BUKU overlooks the Mississippi River and hones in on the rich New Orleans culture. There are “pop-up” performances throughout the festival with local street performers, such as New Thousand. Festival goers can enjoy a sno-ball or the live street art by local artists. These murals are auctioned off at the end of the festival and the money is donated to Upbeat Academy. The festival works closely with the Upbeat Academy Foundation, a non-profit program for New Orleans youth that teaches the skills of hip-hop production. A portion of BUKU’s ticket sales goes to Upbeat Academy as well.
BUKU uses the backdrop of the city to create the atmosphere for the festival. The main stage is in front of the Market Street Power Plant, a New Orleans Warehouse District staple. Another one of their stages is in the warehouse where Mardi Gras World curates the floats for the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades. Huge, beautiful floats line the perimeter of the “Float Den” while thousands of people are packed into a hot, sweaty dance floor. There is also a moving dance cart that cycles its way through the festival playing classics. The VIP experience includes a private stage on the Creole Queen river boat, and an open bar
Last year, BUKU was plagued with cancellations. The PR and marketing team handled the situation very well. When rapper Lil Uzi Vert decided not to come, BUKU sent out a blast to festival goers via app that Lil Uzi Vert just bailed. “No reason, he just wouldn’t leave Philly.” They apologized on his behalf. Migos is another act that showed up an hour late, played for thirty minutes, and left. Out of the acts that did show up, Flatbush Zombies had non-stop interactions with fans for a full sixty minutes, and Borgore led a parade through the streets of New Orleans with 100+ fans.