The 8 Best Things We Saw at Voodoo Fest 2019 on Day 2


With no more tropical storms in sight, the lines to get into the second day of Voodoo Music + Arts Experience on Saturday (Oct. 26) were much more intense than they were on rainy day one. Costumes (and creepy makeup) were also out in full force, with festival attendees dressed up as familiar characters, like Batman villain Poison Ivy, the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz and Buddy the Elf, as well as creative outfits like a rocket ship and piñata.  

Though the rain was gone, there were traces of Tropical Storm Olga on the fest grounds: the mud pits formed on Friday filled the majority of the fields, a quarter of the ferris wheel’s lights no longer worked, and one of the main stage screens was missing. Plus, the temperature dropped as a result of the storm front, with some of Saturday’s acts even pointing out how chilly it was. “I thought New Orleans was supposed to be hot!” Clairo told her crowd.

But the post-storm conditions didn’t take away from the memorable sets delivered by Beck, ZHU, The National, Bassnectar and more. Take a look at the best moments Billboard caught on Voodoo day two below.

Young the Giant's divine intervention

In the wake of the bad weather, Young the Giant revealed that they almost didn’t make it to New Orleans for their Voodoo set. “Our flight was canceled five times today and we finally got here,” said frontman Sameer Gadhia. He called it “divine intervention,” and it seemed the crowd agreed from their excited reaction to every song, dancing along to newer singles like “Heat of the Summer” and belting out their bigger hits “Cough Syrup” and “My Body.”

Japanese Breakfast's vibey return to the Big Easy

As Denzel Curry delivered hip-hop tunes across the field, Japanese Breakfast (a.k.a. Michelle Zauner) served up wavy indie rock for those who wanted chiller vibes after the sun went down. But while Zauner’s soothing voice and the colorful light show provided a low-key break from the louder acts on the bill, she told a story about the wild time they last had in NOLA when they played local venue Tipitina's two years ago. “Peter and Deven got really drunk, as one does at at late show in New Orleans,” she recalled. “We were afraid that we ruined our chances and that you weren’t going to show up after that show, so thank you guys so much for coming out.”

Jai Wolf’s makeshift DJ set

Mud pits were the most prominent at the Le Plur stage, where dance acts perform throughout the fest. But you would’ve never known people were dealing with suction-like mud and massive puddles as Jai Wolf delivered mixes of songs like Lizzo’s “Juice” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” What the hour-long set didn’t include, though, was songs from the producer’s new album The Cure to Loneliness, as he revealed before leaving the stage that he wasn’t able to deliver the set he’d hoped for (but didn’t say why). He did say he still had an awesome time DJing, and frankly the set was still epic, with a dazzling light show and a finale that included fire, fireworks, smoke and confetti during his own hit “Indian Summer.” 


That @jaiwolfx set was ——– #VoodooFest photo by @rohofoto.

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The National’s quirky antics

Lead singer Matt Berninger delivered the most unique commentary of the night, which included a bizarre story about how his handshake is like a tetradactyl “mixed with a hippo with tyrannosaurs rex claws,” a shout-out to Roe V. Wade and equal rights. The most hilarious part of his off-the-wall comments came during “Mr. November,” when Berninger noticed a beetle-like creature crawling on the stage. “Hey get a shot of this bug,” he requested to the cameraman, who obliged and bounced between shots of the bug and Berninger during the song. The frontman even picked it up at one point, acting like a 10-year-old on a playground who found the nastiest critter on the block. “Dude,” he exclaimed, “look at this thing!”

Clairo’s crowd-pleasing performance

Clairo revealed that she was “kind of sick” for her Voodoo Fest set, but she still won her crowd over judging by the comments from those who watched. “I need to listen to Clairo more,” one girl in the audience said, with another guy later asking his buddies, “How do I tell Clairo I love her?” One of her shining moments was during “Bubble Gum,” which she played solo while strumming an electric guitar; and Clairo (as well as the crowd) clearly had the best time during “Sofia,” which turned the slow burning set into a dance party.

ZHU’s back-to-back hits 

While ZHU brought heavy beats throughout his entire hour-long set, the producer’s final two songs were particularly memorable thanks to the flashing lights and fan reactions. A massive sing-along busted out during his hit “Faded,” and ZHU’s Tame Impala collab “My Life” kept the energy high as he closed out the Wisner stage.


@zhu closing down the Wisner Stage on Day 2 of #VoodooFest. Photos by @katrina.barber

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Beck’s flirting with the crowd

“Why is this city such a good feeling, such a good vibe?” Beck asked the crowd soon after starting his headlining set. He was clearly in good spirits as he danced around the stage, with a backdrop of colorful visuals making his 90-minute performance even more entrancing. When he wasn’t singing infectiously catchy tunes like “Wow” and “Dreams,” Beck was feeling extra chatty and apparently a little flirty, teasing his song “Up All Night” by asking the crowd “Can I pick you up tonight?,” and declaring before “Mixed Bizness,” “It's pretty cold out, you might want to snuggle up during this song.”

Bassnectar’s beat drops

Those who weren’t actually part of Bassnectar’s Le Plur stage crowd could likely still feel the reverberations, as his bass was (fittingly) turned up extra high for his full 75-minute set. But those who did catch the set were treated to a trippy combination of kaleidoscopic visuals and laser beams that floated over the crowd for a majority of his performance, which helped make the drops on songs like “Bass Head” and “Speakerbox” feel even more intense — in the best way.