In its fourth year, the two-day Buku Music + Art Project is a new kid on the block among New Orleans festivals.
Nonetheless, the 2015 edition of the youth-oriented Buku — a mix of electronic-dance acts, hip-hop, rock and indie pop — is sold out of general admission tickets. Buku has a maximum capacity of 15,000. About 100 VIP tickets remain available.
For the full Buku music schedule, see thebukuproject.com/lineup/schedule.
Buku 2015 includes DJ and producer Bassnectar; rapper and leader of Harlem’s A$AP collective, A$AP Rocky; electro-pop band Passion Pit; Australian electronic-pop group Empire of the Sun; South African rap group Die Antwoord; indie-rock band TV on the Radio; and Alaskan rock band Portugal. The Man.
Other acts include New Orleans’ Big Freedia; Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler’s DJ project, Windows98; and Boosie BadAzz, the rapper from Baton Rouge formerly known as Lil’ Boosie; plus New Orleans talent Pell, Klutch, Sweet Crude, SFAM and Boyfriend.
Buku artists will perform on five stages: the big outdoor Power Plant stage; the electronic music-focused Float Den stage, located in a Mardi Gras float warehouse; the indoor Ballroom stage; the Back Alley stage, which features views of the Crescent City Connection bridge; and a VIP-only S.S. Blu-Ku riverboat stage.
General admission Buku tickets are sold out. VIP tickets for Friday or Saturday are available for $199.50. TOO BUKU VIP two-day tickets are available for $599.50 and for Friday only for $299.50. Saturday TOO BUKU VIP tickets are sold out.
Limited parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The lots are the property and responsibility of the New Orleans Convention Center.
Festival attendees must be 18 or older and have a valid photo ID to enter. A long list of prohibited items, including lawn chairs, drones, coolers and stuffed animals, is posted at the festival’s website at thebukuproject.com/info/faq.
An electronic music star, Bassnectar headlines Buku’s largest stage, the Power Plant, at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.
Bassnectar is the musical moniker of Lorin Ashton, a DJ and producer from San Francisco who once performed death metal music. A veteran EDM artist, Bassnector released his album debut in 2001. His music synthesizes huge bass lines with mesmerizing soundscapes.
Electro-pop band Passion Pit, featuring frontman Michael Angelakos, opens its North American tour at Buku, performing at 7:45 p.m. Saturday on the Power Plant stage. Angelakos’ glistening songs mask dark lyrics. The group’s new album, “Kindred,” will be released April 21. Music on the album that sounds like synthesizers are actually Angelakos’ voice filtered through computers and pedals.
TV on the Radio
The art-rock experimenters of TV on the Radio released their fifth studio album, “Seeds,” in November. It’s the first project from the acclaimed, originally Brooklyn-based group since the 2011 death of bassist Gerard Smith at 34. The emotional ups and downs in “Seeds,” Rolling Stone judged, “are nothing new for the quartet. But they have an extra resonance …”
“It’s about doing what feels right,” singer Tunde Adebimpe said. “I really feel like this band is something that is expansive and always changing and growing. If we wear our influences on our sleeve, it’s a pretty crowded sleeve.”
Empire of the Sun
Empire of the Sun features many people on stage, but the Australian electro-pop entity’s core members are Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore. Empire of the Sun’s debut album, “Walking on a Dream,” appeared in 2008. A big success in Australia, the album’s title song became an international hit.
Littlemore left Empire of the Sun to write music for Cirque du Soleil. He later reunited with Steele for their 2013 album, “Ice on the Dune.” In 2013, the group performed for opening night at the newly renovated Civic Theatre in New Orleans.
Bounce music, New Orleans’ booty-shaking offshoot of hip-hop, has a queen in Big Freedia. Last month, the season premiere of Freedia’s half-hour docu-series, “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce,” became the top season premiere in the Fuse network’s 12-year history. In its third season, the series has consistently gained viewers.
Last year saw the release of Freedia’s album debut, “Just Be Free.” A follow-up is in the works, as is a memoir, “Big Freedia: God Save The Queen Diva!”
Freedia will perform at 3 p.m. Friday at the Power Plant stage and conduct a twerk lesson at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the VIP-only SS Blu-Ku stage.
The rap star formerly known as Lil’ Boosie, Boosie BadAzz will appear at Buku days after the one-year anniversary of his release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary. In a recent interview with hiphopdx.com, the Baton Rouge-born Boosie said 2014 was the best year of his life.
“I might just be prayin’ somewhere, ya’ heard,” he said of his prison-release anniversary day plans. “March 5 … So I’m thinking, not this year, but next year we’re gonna do a little get-together, maybe have a parade.”
Boosie performs at 10:45 p.m. Friday on the Ballroom stage.