Experiencing The Buku Music + Art Project As An (Almost) 30-Year Old



In three years of attending BUKU, I’ve watched the festival grow steadily into a sold-out, two-day music extravaganza. People traveled far and wide to see twenty-four hours of non-stop music.

Image via BUKU Facebook page

[Image via BUKU Facebook page]

Just shy of my 30th birthday, I’ve slowly realized that watching a band play in a sea of 14,000+ twenty-year olds was something I enjoyed ten years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time getting down to Ghostface Killah and TV on the Radio – but what really made my experience memorable was everything outside of the music.

Every year, a few of my talented friends run a blacklight painting booth, Get Fly Body Painting. Creating psychedelic masterpieces on people’s faces and bodies, they provide an otherworldly element unique to BUKU. Body painting is a pretty intimate experience and many of them painted pieces based on conversations with customers. Naturally, I got my face painted both of the nights that I was there. It’s a festival must!

BukuRecap_Get Fly Body Painting[Image via Nicole Spruill for New Orleans Society of Fly Ladies]

Another festival favorite is the three-story graffiti wall. Built in the center of Mardi Gras World, it affords a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process, as all the painting is done live. Guests also have the opportunity to bid on artist’s panels through the festival’s on-site silent auction.


[Image via BUKU Facebook page]

Something new this year that I give two perfectly manicured thumbs up to is M.A.D. Nails. Using your nails as their canvas, these ladies painted original, creative designs for festivalgoers in less than twenty minutes. I even saw a few dudes getting a single-digit art upgrade.

BukuRecap_Mad Nails
[Image via Mad Nails]

While I spent the majority of my time eating tacos from The Taco Tent, I definitely took a minute to break it down alongside the parading musical bull. I’m always a fan of a mobile dance party and I applaud Michael Feduccia for managing to DJ while walking at a steady pace. After the DJ drew a crowd around the bull, I saw the BUKU Breakers pop, lock and drop it on the concrete floor.


[Image via BUKU Facebook page]

Closing out my new-age festival journey, I was definitely into every performance on The Front Yard stage. From the cook off to the twerk off and an awesome lineup of local DJs (like Nice Rack, Otto, Matt Scott,THE GRID, RQ Away, and Cav), there wasn’t a single dull moment. I wouldn’t be too upset if they put a few more of those acts on the main stages for more people to appreciate.