Celebrating its 15th consecutive year, the Voodoo Experience Festival kicks off once again in New Orleans’ gorgeous City Park on Friday for a three-day run of musical mayhem. With a hugely diverse lineup (check out our Voodoo 2013 playlist!), this year’s Voodoo Fest is sure to be a blast. We’re packing our Halloween candy in a duffel bag and headed down to New Orleans, where we’ll be bringing you end-to-end coverage of 2013 Voodoo Experience festival with daily reviews, photo galleries, interviews and more!
The weather may be tricky, however, and with a bill that includes Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Reignwolf, The Black Cadillacs and many, many more (check the daily schedule), you’re going to want to be fully prepared for whatever may come, to ensure the most rockin’ festival experience you can have. As a result, we’ve put together a Voodoo 2013 Survival Guide for your convenience.
Ponchos & Plastic Bags
The weather forecast in New Orleans is not looking too promising for Voodoo Fest. It’s been raining for days, and while Saturday and Sunday look fairly pleasant, the hopeful dry spell is followed by more extended periods of rain. Poncho up to be fully prepared in the event of a downpour, and bring a handful of rubber bands along with a bunch of plastic grocery bags to wrap your feet in (not to mention your phone). Don’t be the guy everyone hates because you whipped out an umbrella in the crowd, blocking everyone behind you. T-shirts and shorts are great in the heat of the daytime, but rocking out when you’re soaked to the bone is a little less than thrilling. Besides, there’s no better way to win points with the girl you’ve been eyeing than to offer her some protection from the elements during a festival downpour.
Eat early, eat local
Breakfast is the most important meal on a festival day, so load up for sustained energy. There’s a lot of standard overpriced fried festival fare once you get inside, but you should keep your eyes open for the local goods. New Orleans has some of the best food on Earth, and there is no shortage of cajun/creole goodness to be found both on the festival grounds and in local eateries around City Park. Don’t settle for the standard corndog nastiness or the teryaki plates with a husk of “chicken” and teeth-chippingly hard rice. You’re in NOLA! Taste some authentic jambalaya, try some properly cooked catfish and a whole array of other local cuisine specializing in creole grub. And if you can wait until the show’s over, Bourbon Street is packed with excellent food spots. You’ll gain about 20 pounds if you’re not careful, but with taste like this it’s worth it.
Rent a bike
Mobility is key, and if you don’t want to enter the battle royal fight for taxis or public transport after the fest, the best option is to ride a bike. Check out our Voodoo Transportation guide for more details, including where you can rent a bicycle, the best rates on rental cars and more.
Get a locker
For heavier clothes, blankets, rain gear and daily necessities that you don’t want to carry around, you can keep belongings in a locker on-site for $15 a day, or $40 for the entire weekend. Buddy up with some friends to cut down on costs, and enjoy a few extra amenities during Voodoo weekend. You’ll get the last laugh when the downpours begin and you’ve got a treasure trove of dry clothes & safe electronics waiting across the field.
Be smart about your stash
Being casual about broadcasting your recreational plans could result in a very bad weekend for you. New Orleans isn’t California, and they’re less inclined to let the good times roll if you’re being flagrant about your mind-altering activities. Be respectful of local laws, keep your wits about you, and no matter how good the deal sounds, don’t buy anything on the fields but what grows naturally: you never know what you’re getting.
Charge up! Bring backup!
Your phone battery is going to deplete faster than you can say, “Wait, I’m not finished Instagramming that pic of Eddie Vedder arm wrestling Macklemore!” Twitter, Instagram and Facebook apps are energy vampires that will leave you digitally stranded in no time, so suck it up and live the experience rather than shakily documenting every second of it while blocking the view of everyone behind you. Keep your charger on you, keep an eye out for charging stations, and consider taking the cheap leap into the world of portable chargers.
Water, water, water
Voodoo fest allows sealed water bottles up to one liter in size, so take advantage of it. Without hydration, you’re gonna have a bad time. And no, alcohol doesn’t count as hydration. It’s a simple, yet often overlooked, rule that can make all the difference in a weekend packed with partying.