Meet the crowd at New Orleans’ most vibrant music festival

For the 10th anniversary of BUKU Music + Art Project, we captured some of the coolest festival-goers and found out what’s going on in their cities.

by Nicole DeMarco; photos by Annie Flanagan
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05 April 2022, 5:06pm

The last BUKU Music + Art Project was scheduled to take place on March 20, 2020. As you can imagine, the world — and the coronavirus — had other plans. This year, however, marked the return of one of New Orleans’ most exciting music festivals. As tens of thousands of brightly-clad fans and ravers flooded the grounds outside Mardi Gras World, a working warehouse and exhibition space where parade floats are typically stored, one thing was for certain — festivals are back!

In order to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, BUKU presented a major cross-genre lineup of artists, from big name talents like Tame Impala, Tyler, the Creator, Vince Staples, Baby Keem, 100 gecs and Shygirl, to local favorites like $uicideboy$, 504icygrl, ANTWIGADEE!, Stone Cold Jzzle and glbl wrming, a music collective comprised of more than 20 of the city’s creatives. The city’s energy and vibrant culture could be felt in the many exhibitions and art installations, especially the nightly performance of Choke Hole, a drag wrestling show organized by local queens Hugo Gyrl, Visqueen and Jassy.

After two years without festivals — and few live music performances, in general — there was a raw energy in the air, and outfits to match. To celebrate BUKU Music + Art Project’s return, we hit the ground with photographer Annie Flanagan to capture some of the coolest festival-goers and found out what’s going on in their cities. Read on below… and watch this space!

two people posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Sean, 24, truck driver & artist management

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tame Impala, Tyler, the Creator, Baby Keem. What’s inspiring you at the moment? The graphics at the shows. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The people! Most people say that we’re nice, but we have a lot of creative stuff that’s going on that doesn’t really get looked at as much. We don’t have as many opportunities.

Brooke, 25, dental hygienist 

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Same! Tame Impala and Tyler. What’s inspiring you at the moment? The weather. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. I mean, the food.

jason posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Jason, 23, hairdresser

Where are you from? Mandeville, Louisiana. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? 100 gecs. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Clashing patterns Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The cops suck! 

two girls posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Peyton & Maura, 22

Where are you from? Houston. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? $uicideboy$. What’s inspiring you at the moment? This 72 degrees and sunny weather, and my bestie. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. Houston is very chaotic, but there’s a lot of beauty in it

Where are you from? Houston, but I live in New Orleans now. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tierra Whack. What’s inspiring you at the moment? My homegirl, Peyton, being here with me. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The plants and the architecture are so amazing.

trinity posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Trinity, 24, artist

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? ANTWIGADEE! Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The underground scene is coming above ground. There’s a lot of talent out here. It’s time for everybody to tap in.

three people posing in front of a spray painted cargo box at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Oji, 24, model

Where are you from? St. Louis. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tame Impala, Lango. What’s inspiring you at the moment? The energy of this city; it’s so relaxing. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The people are so genuine and hardworking.

Lebria, 23, student and jewellery designer

Where are you from? I was born in Georgia, but I live in Baton Rouge. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tame Impala and Baby Keem. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Life, life in general. Nature. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. It’s awesome, very inclusive and a great place to figure out who you are.

Daisya, 21, model

Where are you from? Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tame Impala, Lango, Shygirl. What’s inspiring you at the moment? My friends. Being in the city with my friends makes me feel motivated. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. It has the best food! Better than New York.

jon posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Jon

Where are you from? Providence, Rhode Island Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Kali Uchis. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Tio chic style, so like jeans with a white tank top. Old 80s and 90s photos. My dad’s from there. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. We have the most coastline per square mile than any other state and the beaches are better than California.

two people posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Lauryn, 24, teacher

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Kali Uchis, Tyler, the Creator. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Music in general. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. We have the best food in the world.

Ysabella, 24, works in tech

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tyler and Baby Keem. What’s inspiring you at the moment? The Grateful Dead. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. If you move to New Orleans, you have to respect it – really give back to the people who are from here and the local businesses.

mya posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Mya, 25, actress

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Stone Cold Jzzle. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. There’s a renaissance happening creatively and everyone needs to pay attention to us. Everyone looks at New York, but they should be looking here.

visqueen posing in drag at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Visqueen, 29, performer

Where are you from? New Orleans Who are you most excited to see this weekend? 100 gecs, Shygirl, Tierra Whack. What’s inspiring you at the moment? My wrestling show, Choke Hole, that’s happening tonight. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. Drag wrestling!

a group of four girlsin festival outfits and platforms posing at buku music + arts project in new orleans

Gabby, Cam, Savannah & Kylie

Where are you all from? Minneapolis, Dallas, Mississippi and Alabama. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? $uicideboy$, Tame Impala and Rezz. How did you all meet? Going to festivals!

gabriel posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Gabriel, 19, singer / actor

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? I already saw them — 100 gecs. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Living in the moment and just having a good time. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. BUKU.

antonio posing at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Antonio, 24, photographer

Where are you from? Angola, but I live in Austin, Texas. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? 100 gecs, Tyler, Baby Keem. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Collaboration, people, groups, the prospect of working with others. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The raves. Austin has a really great rave scene.

two people posing against a chainlink fence at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Jack, 18, student

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Baby Keem, Vince Staples. What’s inspiring you at the moment? This man; he’s my best friend since second grade. And different rappers who are going outside of the norm. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. We’re dope as fuck. There’s a lot of crime, there’s a lot of hype, but this city’s really awesome.

Max, 18, student

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? $uicideboy$. What’s inspiring you at the moment? My closest friends who are all doing well, and the South Korean animator Kim Jung Gi. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. If you want to experience the culture, you’ve gotta be willing to get into some grit. This city can be a safe space for everyone.

cherill posing in front of an atm at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Cherrill

Where are you from? Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tyler, the Creator. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Fashion, and patterns. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. The culture of the city is really special.

corey sitting in the grass at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Corey, barista and writer

Where are you from? New Orleans. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tame Impala, Tyler, the Creator, Teezo, Kali Uchis. What’s inspiring you at the moment? Just seeing how much effort some of these artists put into their performances. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. Music. My friend @_hunidew who makes art and does makeup.

jackson posing in the grass at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Jackson, 23, construction 

Where are you from? Hammond, Louisiana Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tyler, the Creator, Tierra Whack. What’s inspiring you at the moment? The beautiful weather. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. It’s cool sometimes, but I want to leave.

candace posing under colored lights at buku music + arts festival in new orleans

Candace, seamstress

Where are you from? Alabama, but I live in Las Vegas. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Clozee, Rezz. What’s inspiring you at the moment? The community and how everyone’s coming together for local businesses. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. Area 15. It’s an adult immersive and interactive mall by Meow Wolf.

two girls dressed up as tyler the creator at buku music and arts festival in new orleans

Cheyanne & Barbara

Where are you from? Fayetteville, Arkansas. Who are you most excited to see this weekend? Tyler!! What’s inspiring you at the moment? C: Being 25 and an adult, trying to be better. B: People that are so willing to express themselves. Tell us something that’s happening in your city that everyone should know about. Arkansas basketball, the Razorbacks!

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Credits


Photography Annie Flanagan

Tagged:
Culture
Festivals