When I bought my 3-day GA pass for Voodoo Fest this year, I knew that I would be in for a surprise or two. The insane amount of mud across the entire festival grounds the first day was a surprise in itself, but the more positive surprises came as I attended sets of artists I really had never listened to before. I was excited for the headliners, of course, but I also was excited to get the whole Voodoo experience by arriving in the early afternoon and staying until after the last act of the night, which meant I filled up my own personal setlist with some other artists that I had little to no knowledge of.
Voodoo makes it easy to keep track of your favorite artists by adding them to your setlist, which I ended up making my phone background so that I could quickly and easily check times and locations of the sets I planned to attend. Overall, Mumford & Sons’ performance on the first night was my absolute favorite as I stood in a crowd of thousands of people listening to their music and felt completely at peace for the hour and a half set. Aside from the immense talent that each of the members of the band has in both singing and instrumental ability, all of them genuinely seemed happy to be at Voodoo and happy that we came to their set. It would be easy for a headliner to think that they are doing the crowd a favor by performing, but Mumford & Sons showed everyone just how happy they were to see us and hear us singing along by giving one of the best performances of any band I have ever seen live.
The standout for my Voodoo group on the second day was Ty Dolla $ign, which came as a huge shock to us as we really hadn’t heard much of his music before other than songs he is featured on. Ty Dolla $ign went on around 8:45pm, so we were all feeling tired, mentally and physically, as our feet were ready to give out from under us, but he definitely livened our spirits. During his set, I felt like I could dance and jump around for the rest of the night as he, like Mumford & Sons, seemed so happy to have the chance to sing at Voodoo and entertain us for the night. The surprises at Ty Dolla $ign’s sets just kept coming as he did something memorable every other second. Most memorably, he jumped into the crowd, to the surprise of his bodyguards who ran off the stage behind him, and interacted with so many members of the crowd singing and taking pictures with them. Then, he brought out his girlfriend, Lauren Jauregui, who sang a song, while Ty (absolutely adorably) recorded her on his phone from the wings of the stage. While my friends and I had originally planned to leave a couple minutes early to head to Martin Garrix who started before Ty Dolla $ign’s set ended, we ended up staying until the very end just because of the amazing energy both in the crowd and on the stage at his set, which ended with him smashing a guitar into the stage.
By Sunday, I was so tired, and starting to stress about the work I had to do for the week, that I wasn’t exactly in a Voodoo state of mind. All of that changed because of the amazing bands that we had on our list for the third and final day. Starting with Judah and the Lion, whose song “Take It All Back” is definitely their most well known, I felt my energy rush back as I fed off of the energy of the band in this completely interactive set. For one of the songs, the lead singer, Judah, split the crowd into two groups who would sing with him at opposite times, which definitely got me into the spirit. My friends and I ended up loving this set so much that we went to their more acoustic set later on just to have the chance to see them again. Following their first set, though, we ran through the mud (and briefly lost a shoe in the process) to AJR. Once again, this set was so lively and overall joyful that I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else but in the crowd at that moment.
I’ve heard that music festivals can be a hit or miss, but Voodoo this year was definitely a hit. From the artists/bands who I knew would be amazing to the ones who completely surprised me, I am so glad that I put all my energy into each day of Voodoo and made the most of the experience.
Pro-tip: If you happen to have a stress fracture when you attend Voodoo (or any festival that might include some mud), wrap it in a garbage bag so you don’t get mud inside the boot! You can also add some fun tape or colored streamers to the outside to make it a little more festive. I sadly didn’t think of this until after the first day of Voodoo, but it made all of the difference for the second and third days. Check out my before and after photos below!