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2017 BUKU Music + Art Project

Get the scoop on Buku Music + Art Project, happening March 10-11.

The BUKU Music + Art Project returns to Mardi Gras World March 10-11 for its sixth incarnation, featuring headliners like deadmau5, Travis Scott and Run the Jewels, plus locals acts including Unicorn Fukr and Caddywhompus. With a heavy focus on internationally recognized EDM stars, the weekend-long festival has become a staple for electronic music fans in New Orleans, where the genre has struggled to carve out a niche for itself in years past.

A stage at BUKU Music + Art Project. (Photo courtesy of aLive Coverage)

Acts are spread across five stages plus a river-docked steamboat VIP stage, with pop-up music performances and visual art installations interspersed throughout the festival grounds over the course of the weekend. After the main venue shuts down each night — as well as the night before the festival kicks off — BUKU hosts ticketed, late-night afterparties at Republic, the Joy Theater, and the Dragon’s Den.

BUKU’s main art attraction is a live graffiti gallery that brings together 14 New Orleans graffiti artists to create 10×8 canvas panels live on-site. The panels are all slated to be auctioned off once they’re completed to raise money for Animal Rescue New Orleans and Upbeat Academy, a program that offers at-risk kids the chance to learn fundamentals of EDM and hip-hop recording and production.

Students from Upbeat Academy, along with a handful of indie labels plus sketch and improv comedy outfit The New Movement, are also featured in a series of showcases on the Front Porch stage.


Travis Scott. (Courtesy photo)

GRIZMATIK is the side project of 24-year-old Detroit native and Daptone Records collaborator Griz and Slovenian electronic music producer Gramatik. Together, the pair leans heavily on soul and funk concepts rounded out by plenty of bass and brass. (Friday, March 10 at 7:45 p.m. at the Power Plant.)

Singer Travis Scott opens his spring and summer tour at BUKU in New Orleans, focusing on music from his sophomore album, “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.” (Friday, March 10, 9:45 p.m. at the Power Plant.)

Toronto-based DJ team Dylan Mamid and Zachary Rapp-Roven form Zeds Dead, playing a genre-spanning mix of house, hip-hop, drum and bass, glitch and UK garage, among other styles. They released “Northern Lights” last fall after announcing the launch of their own label, Deadbeats. (Friday, March 10, 11:45 p.m. at Float Den.)


deadmau5. (Courtesy photo)

When El-P and Killer Mike’s hip-hop supergroup Run the Jewels released their third album, “Run the Jewels 3” in December, the New York Times hailed the duo as the “leading light in a new hip-hop counterinsurgency.” Mixing El-P’s seemingly boundless production skills with both rappers’ penchants for using music to express fundamental views on humanity and society, the new disc takes the project’s initial concept to new heights of creative risk-taking. Asked to describe the new music by VladTV, Killer Mike said “Run the Jewels 3” is “harder and darker” than their previous releases. (Saturday, March 11, 8 p.m. at Power Plant.)

After a quiet period in 2015, EDM producer deadmau5 (real name Joel Zimmerman) returned with a slate of new music courtesy of the LP “W:/2016ALBUM/.” This year, Zimmerman’s already shared three BBC Radio 1 remixes plus “Stuff I Used to Do,” the 13-track album he released last month for free in conjunction with the file transfer service We Transfer. He recently announced he’d sold his McLaren P1 to help pay for his new stage design, although that production, dubbed “Cube 2.1,” won’t debut until March 29 in New York, according to (Saturday, March 11, 9:40 p.m. @ Power Plant.)

For complete schedule and ticket information, visit BUKU Music + Art project.

Jennifer Odell is a freelance music writer. Her work appears regularly in DownBeat, Jazz Times, Offbeat and the Gambit, among other publications, and she leads the New Orleans chapter of the Jazz Journalists Association. In her spare time, she enjoys second lining to the Hot 8 or TBC, costuming, and eating all of the crawfish.

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