Voodoo Fest – Louisiana’s Own Woodstock!

You Had to Be There… No, I Mean – RIGHT THERE.After Jazz Fest this past spring, what could be cooler than yet ANOTHER musical free-for-all in New Orleans, at Halloween! We just had to check out Voodoo Fest this year, and I’m sure glad we didn’t miss it.

We really didn’t care about the festival. It was all about R.E.M. to Deb and me, but we went down to City Park in the early afternoon. The Saints were winning at half-time, the weather was drop-dead perfect, and Michael and Spencer were able to stay out a bit late on a school night, so why not enjoy the day?

In all honesty, Voodoo Fest was cool, but not so much like Jazz Fest – it lacked that intense excitement all over the place, and was much like any other festival. I hated that there wasn’t much going on for the boys to enjoy; definitely not their kind of music. But when the sun went down… everything changed.

Within half an hour, our new hippie-cool peace sign blanket was damp from dew on the grass. We were awaiting R.E.M.’s opening songs, and Bobby pointed out something I had missed – as always. I can never remember to look at EVERYTHING. The sky had been crossed all evening with random lights that make lines, I supposed pointing to the park entrance or something. You know how they put those spotlights on events so that everyone can find them.

Well, these were not random markers at all. If you tipped your head back like a good hippie, just looking for the stars or enjoying your own little trip… those lights made a peace sign in the sky. The lines converged on City Park, over the little group of happy people on the ground, just a little sign from the heavens… Good freakin’ idea. Woodstock in New Orleans. Hell yes.

So, there it was. Peace in the night sky, R.E.M. onstage… Bobby B and the boys had to go… so it was just down to me and my own kids. Within the hour, Deb and I lost our minds. They were singing every single song we love, we were screaming ourselves hoarse, dancing, and NOW my little girl has been to a REAL concert, complete with the sweating and pushing and the hazy smell of tobacco and other substances floating on the night breeze. This is what it’s all about. This is one of those “here and now” times I’ve been trying to remember to live in.

Two miles back to the car. We’re exhausted, Bobby P is already hung over in advance for tomorrow morning. Jen is stealing Voodoo signs off the telephone poles, and we’re pretty damned happy to be together, enjoying this. And this. And this.

When all was said and done, Bobby B told us that you couldn’t see the peace sign from anywhere but our spot on the grass, in front of the stage. They tried to find it on their walk to the car, and it just wasn’t there any more. You had to be there – right there – to see what the lines in the sky really meant. Just like I keep reminding myself… right here, right now. It’s invisible when you try to make sense of it from anywhere else.


Anne (Eye on the ground from Woodstock, Louisiana)