The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (formerly "The Voodoo Music Experience"), commonly referred to as Voodoo or Voodoo Fest, is a multi-day music and arts festival held in City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Voodoo Experience has hosted more than 2000 artists and over one million festival goers during its existence. The festival has been twice nominated for Pollstar's Music Festival of the Year. It was acquired by Live Nation Entertainment in 2013 and is produced by C3 Presents. Don Kelly, Voodoo's former General Counsel and COO, is now Festival Director and oversees the event.
Since its 1999 Halloween weekend debut, the annual event has become a Halloween tradition to music fans, both locally and others who travel from around the world. Throughout Voodoo’s 20-year run, more than one million festival goers have gathered to see performances from about 2,000 artists. The event has also been twice nominated for Pollstar's Music Festival of the Year and in 2005, Voodoo founder Stephen Rehage and his team were presented with a key to the city, following the Voodoo 2005 post-Katrina event.
Voodoo’s annual line-up traditionally features top-tier and innovative artists from a variety of musical genres. Highlights from the last 15 years have included performances from Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Tiesto, Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5, No Doubt, Ozzy Osbourne, The Black Keys, Neil Young, Green Day, KISS, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, R.E.M. (in one of the band’s last U.S. performances), My Chemical Romance, 50 Cent and 311.
Creation and growth
Voodoo was first held as a single day event on October 30, 1999 at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park. Planned and executed by Stephen Rehage, CEO of Rehage Entertainment, the festival consisted of three stages and a mix of local and national acts including headliners Wyclef Jean and Moby.
As the U.S. festival market swelled, Voodoo continued its growth, increasing both the festival site and musically expanding with the addition of stages and performers.
During its second year in 2000, Voodoo became to a two-day event and garnered international attention with a headlining performance from Eminem in support of his just-released three times platinum major studio debut The Slim Shady LP. In 2007, Voodoo expanded to a three-day event.
Originally scheduled for Halloween Weekend in New Orleans’ City Park, the Voodoo Music Experience was displaced by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. While plans were in full swing to move forward with relocation to Memphis, Voodoo founder Stephen Rehage met with community leaders in New Orleans about the opportunity to move the event back home for one of its two days—as a tribute event for relief workers. Festival organizers and Memphis representatives alike agreed this was an amazing opportunity to increase the scope of the event.
It marked the first major multi-musical performance in the two months since Hurricane Katrina’s effects were felt in the city.
Voodoo in Memphis included a fundraiser for victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in AutoZone Park.
2006 - present
The 2006 Voodoo Music Experience saw the debut of three distinct areas on six distinct stages within the festival’s landscape: Le Ritual, Le Flambeau and Le Carnival. Each of these areas was designed to uniquely showcase different sides of the personality of the festival and its New Orleans home: "Le Flambeau" features music and sounds consistent with the style of The Big Easy; "Le Ritual" features more mainstream music; and finally "Le Carnival" features indie bands, burlesque and circus acts.
In 2007, Voodoo expanded to three days and broke all previous attendance records with an estimated 100,000+ fans in attendance.
Poof! The Pop Show With Carmine P. Filthy & A Boy Named Ruth
Leopold and His Fiction
Church with Unicorn Fukr, Mr. Cool Bad Guy & Guests
Leslie Blackshear Smith & Double Black Featuring Simon Lott, DJ Raymond, Shawn Theriot, Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, Tim Green, Ivan Neville, Kiki Phillips, Mehnaz Hoosein & Erica Falls
Sports & Leisure
Paul Varisco and The Milestones
Panic in Eden
The Real Night Tripper: Dr. John Featuring George Porter Jr., Herlin Riley, Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, Smokey Johnson, Chief Monk Bourdeaux, Nicholas Payton, Roderick Paulin, Sarah Morrow, & Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony
The 2012 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience was held from October 26–28, 2012.