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BUKU Implements Major Changes for Its Biggest Year Yet [Interview]

As the seventh annual BUKU Music + Art Project rolls into view, the hype for the nationally-acclaimed event is higher than ever. The notable BUKREWE and the undeniably wild #TOOBUKU movement now spread much farther than their New Orleans roots. The spirit and culture are loud and proud for the festival that not only has solidified a place in our memories but also in our hearts.

This year, the BUKU Music + Art Project will take place March 9+10 at the base of the Mississippi River. Here in New Orleans, home of the famous parade floats of Mardi Gras, BUKU stakes its claim in the festival circuit while letting the city’s personality shine.

Since the first-ever run in 2012, the BUKU Music + Art Project has continued to one-up itself year after year. Over the last six years, organizers utilized the venue of Mardi Gras World in so many breathtaking ways that we don’t know what else they could come up with. We are pleased to share that there are many new surprises for the 2018 installment of BUKU Music + Art Project

For OG BUKREWEs, reminiscing about the early years brings back fond memories. The Riverfront stage and the intimate Back Alley stage ensured that there was something for everyone. Many a memory has been shared and enjoyed underneath the Graffiti wall, one of BUKU‘s most unique aspects.

Curious to find out more? We recently got the opportunity to chat with the brains and brawn behind BUKU Music + Art Project.

In our conversation with Spenser Schott, Assistant Talent Buyer for Winter Circle Productions, we ask how they put this whole experience together. Take a look below!

BUKU has grown tremendously over the last few years. How are you utilizing Mardi Gras World differently this year to accommodate bigger crowds?

“We’re so stoked to grow this year! BUKU expansion’s always been a tough nut to crack because we’re locked by the Mississippi River and the train tracks.

But this year we’re finally taking the leap and putting the main stage on the other side of the tracks – we have so much more room for our fans to spread out and to incorporate new production and design elements.”

BUKU is known for it’s off the chain pop-up performances, anything you can spill to us about some of the types of performances you have planned for this year?

You never know what’s going to happen – expect to see some new performers debut alongside familiar faces, like the OG BUKU BREAKERS!


What do you have planned for VIP since the VIP-only S.S. BUKU will be gone this year?

“VIP got a major upgrade. We put to rest the boat because with the main stage moving across the tracks the VIP viewing structure for that stage naturally moved too – that structure is now a sick rooftop space for our VIP Bukrewe with amazing views of the Power Plant stage.

Our VIP-only stage f/k/a the Back Alley provides great views of the Mississippi – both the rooftop and the old Back Alley will have drinks flowing at the open bar, for those over 21+ of course. We take great care in curating our VIP stage – past VIP performers have gone onto have some really incredible careers, so we enjoy looking back on those especially intimate performances.”

Will you still have the famous BUKU Graffiti wall this year? Any changes being made to it?

“Totally – we’ll have 16 local artists painting this year, with proceeds from sold panels going towards Upbeat Academy and Animal Rescue New Orleans.

The Graffiti Wall will move across the train tracks this year and be incorporated into our Front Yard staging area.”

The Front Yard was a fan favorite and a great place to check out local art & music. Will there be something similar this year?

“The Front Yard will feature showcase performances in multiple sets in a prominent area of the festival across the train tracks – we’re very proud of our local scene and are excited about the upcoming performances this year: Freewater, Pink Room Project, Church* and Upbeat Academy.”


Any other surprises you have planned for the BUKrewe this year?

“Always!”


How will the Back Alley stage be presented this year?

“RIP Back Alley as we know it, welcome the Wharf stage!

We basically made a better Back Alley – same riverside vibes, bigger stage, and production, and we incorporated the stage design from the prior 3 Back Alley stages (water totes, shipping pallets, steel culverts) and morphed it into one stage. This Wharf Stage is next to the Mississippi River is going to be an incredible space with really cool production elements, featuring some of your favs in electronic, rap, and indie music.”


What is your proudest moment of BUKU Music + Art Project?

“The diversity of the line-up this year and the tenacity of our team when it comes to pushing creative boundaries to really curate an experience that fans and artists are excited for.”

“This is also what I think sets us apart from other festivals – we try to keep a high curatorial intent and just want to do cool stuff with our friends.”


For those of you making your journey to BUKU for the first time, around every corner is some amazing pop-up performance or experience awaiting you! Don’t hesitate to experience everything! 

Feature image courtesy of aLIVE Coverage and Winter Circle Productions.

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