Nov 5, 201309:36 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

Voodoo Fest and the World of Music Festivals, According to Annie

Over the weekend I was able to procure myself a wristband for Voodoo Fest because, come hell or high water, I was going to that Nine Inch Nails show. It was the first time the group played in New Orleans since I moved down here in 2009 and I was determined to be in that audience watching Trent Reznor perform decked out in leather from head to toe. Last weekend was the seventh time I had seen Nine Inch Nails. (It would have been No. 8 if my parents would have let me go with them to the tour the group played with David Bowie, but I was too young, apparently. My parents came home from the show bewildered, expecting Bowie to play "Changes" and "China Girl," but they got his industrial phase instead. Ha! Served them right.)

Anyways, seven times isn't exactly "superfan" status, but I always try to go when Nine Inch Nails comes around my city. The band is in the small list of bands I've followed since I was a wee lassie and seeing the group brings back good memories and flashbacks to certain stages in my life. High school, college, young-adulthood ... and to whatever it is that I am now.

Music festivals themselves are also an old love, though I've found myself growing weary with them. I'm just not as gung-ho about the shows as I used to be. When I was young, all that was needed to get me to a show was a band with a great single playing on Columbus, Ohio's local alternative radio station. These days I need a lot more than that, either a phenomenal current album or several good ones under their belt for me to spend $40 on a ticket. And as for the festivals, I have to really want it. Like in order to get me back to Bonnaroo and that blistering Tennessee summer heat, Led Zeppelin would probably have to get back together and headline, and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

A lot has changed since my first H.O.R.D.E. Fest (remember those?) and Lollapalooza. Here are some other priorities that have evolved for me over the years:


Concert memorabilia: I can't tell you how much money I've wasted on concert T-shirts and hippie jewelry that I never really wore. There were only two shirts that I would actually wear, a Cranberries and Phish shirt because they were strangely comfortable. All that stuff looks cool at the merch tent, but usually your life can go on just fine without all that. Another reason why I pass is because I just don't want to carry that stuff around with me all day.


Drinking: I don't care about drinking that much anymore because of a few reasons. For one, I don't like having to use the ladies' room throughout the whole show, especially if the only option is a Porta Potty. This is why I don't drink at Jazz Fest. Is there anything worse than one of those things baking in the sun all day? It might not be all that bad for a guy but it really sucks for a girl. They can be traumatizing. Another reason I don't drink a lot is because I like to remember what I've seen. There's a Cake show and a Spoon show that I have no recollection of and it sucks because I paid a lot of money to not remember much of the music and to feel like shit the next day. Also, drinks are so expensive at these functions, especially the festivals, that I just can't see the point. I spent $9 on a tall can at Voodoo and $7 for a weak-ass Hurricane. Right before Nine Inch Nails went on stage I got a Red Bull and Vodka and I'm too embarrassed to admit what I paid for it. But hey, YOLO!


Attire: Concerts used to be a fashion show for my friends and me, so it was cute to watch all the groups of young girls at Voodoo do the same thing we used to do: trying to look cool while seeming as if you're not trying at all. It's a delicate balance and a hard thing to pull off. For my first Nine Inch Nails show, my best friend and I went corset shopping. For this one I wore jeans, comfy shoes and, since it was chilly, a cozy sweater. Hell, even Trent Reznor was wearing a sensible scarf.


Front row: I'd rather not be in front anymore at festivals. I don't want to be in the back either, but being up front is pointless. You are constantly fighting the crowd so you're not enjoying the music. No one cares that you camped out for that spot all day, people will just rush the stage when the band goes on and push their way through. It's not worth it. These days I like to be in the middle, off to the right, so that there's some room to move and groove to the music.


Weather and camping: Like I said before, it would take the Second Coming to get me to a summer camping festival. I've been to enough. And truth be told, I'm just not that into camping. I'm over that phase in my life where I try to fit in with my hippie friends by forcing myself into thinking that I enjoy being dirty and drunk for several days and that sleeping on the ground is good for my lower chakras. Whatever, I like beds and air conditioning and showers and I'm willing to admit that.


The great thing about Voodoo was that it was perfect for my ever-growing criteria for festival-going. It's in my city so I don't have to pay an arm and a leg for travel expenses on top of the price of a ticket. All I had to do was go down Esplanade to City Park. Also, it's in the fall so it's not insanely hot but also not freezing cold. Another thing is that while Jazz Fest is amazing, it's also maddeningly crowded. Voodoo is not like that, plus it's held in a huge park so there is shade everywhere. It's just so nice. What a gorgeous day/night it was! Sign me up for next year!

Reader Comments:
Nov 5, 2013 11:18 am
 Posted by  The Stick

This is a ridiculously weak description of where, how, and what festivals have transgressed into. From a reader's point of view, this has nothing to do with Festivals (except for namedropping three of them) and everything to do with bitching and moaning about futile issues like the weather, a drink price, or how to use a portable bathroom. So, for the sake of true journalism, let's not call this "Voodoo and the World of Music Festivals: Then and Now", but rather let's call it "Annie Drummond's Festival Complaints Now That She's Not In High School or College Anymore - An Opinion". If it's really that tough for you - then stay home and let someone else purchase the ticket.

-Fellow Festival-Goer

Nov 5, 2013 11:33 am
 Posted by  raw

Sheesh, "the stick" must have one up his you know what. He's far more irritated about very little than he claims you are, Annie. Anyway, I hear you and am with you on festival going, and if you liked Zep, try to catch Robert Plant and the Sensational Spaceshifters. Completely awesome band, Plant's still got it, and they play about half Zep stuff, differently and as good or better (!), and half mind-blowing new stuff. Saw them this summer at Portland's Waterfront Blues Festival and they were so good they and the crowd were levitating. I'm 64, a life-long music freak, have been to countless festivals and shows and this was one of the best ever.

Nov 5, 2013 12:17 pm
 Posted by  The Stick

My ass is clear of foreign objects - I just checked to make sure, thank you for your concern! However, it does seem that my initial comment may not have been clear enough. What was expressed in this blog has nothing to do with what is suggested in the title, 'Voodoo And The World of Music Festivals: Then And Now', this may be Annie's fault or it could be more of an editorial issue, I can't point fingers because I am not behind the closed doors of What is beyond obvious to me though, is that an individual attempted to write an op-ed piece about the global status of the modern day festival as compared to a festival of yore. Yet what came from this piece was a string of complaints that rested solely on one day and one night at one festival in one city. There is no comparing and contrasting, no widely viewed angle of now versus then, this is simply a nag fest, and frankly it seems like the type of complaints you'd get from an older person who wouldn't be attending festivals anyway. So, as a long-time New Orleanian who's been working in the media industry for 5 plus years I can't help but get a bit offended at Annie's attempt to throw Voodoo, and potentially all other festivals, under the bus due to miniscule and personal issues. Had this title not made it seem like this would be a hard hitting piece on the status of festivals both past and present and what the future holds for them, then I wouldn't be nearly as vocal.

And yes, Robert Plant and the Sensational Spaceshifters are the real deal. I was fortunate enough to catch them twice this year and the fact that Plant can still emulate a vintage Zeppelin cut to perfection is a testament to his longevity and talent.

Nov 5, 2013 03:13 pm
 Posted by  geez

The writer obviously was not in New Orleans for the hell or high water that has come to describetje aftermath of Katrina. I would think an editor would have removed her glib and offensive comment. We didn't have to read the writer's bio to know she is not from here.

Nov 5, 2013 03:55 pm
 Posted by  The Stick

Yes. Agreed. Thank you Geez!

Nov 5, 2013 04:17 pm
 Posted by  Haley A.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for reading I have been following your comments throughout the day and I do agree that the original headline for this blog post was a bit misleading. I have changed it to "Voodoo Fest and the World of Music Festivals, According to Annie" to clarify that the post is one person's experience from music festivals, not a comprehensive guide to music festivals in New Orleans and beyond.

Thanks for reading,
Web Editor

Nov 8, 2013 08:32 pm
 Posted by  AnnieD

Thanks for reading my blog, all!

I quite enjoyed the Voodoo Festival (it's my fave fest) and am planning to go back next year. I sought out a ticket for the show because of my love for one of the headlining acts, Nine Inch Nails. And it really was just a piece about my personal experience with music festivals, I wasn't trying to make an all-encompassing statement about the state of festivals today versus yesterday, but about how my tastes and musical priorities have evolved over the years. As I've gotten older, I tend to only go to the intense shows if one of my all-time favorite bands are playing (such as the Nine Inch Nails). Music has been an important part of my life since I was very young and I in no way meant to offend anyone. My first language is sarcasm and a lot of what I write is tongue-in-cheek.

And thanks Raw! I missed Plant when he was here in July because the show was sold out and then later cried because he dropped by to sing at BJ's in the Bywater down the street from my house and I missed it :-(

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy


Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at




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