As we get the first hints of fall weather, it is time to look to Halloween and—of course—the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. This year the festival celebrates its 20th installment with another all-star lineup. The headlining spots go to Mumford and Sons, Childish Gambino and the Arctic Monkeys. Mumford and Sons are arguably the biggest thing in indie folk and Americana right now. Childish Gambino is on his “This is America” tour, which was inaugurated with his amazing Saturday Night Live performance and groundbreaking video. The Arctic Monkeys are touring in support of their outstanding record from May—“Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino”—a concept album of glam and lounge inspired tracks depicting a luxury hotel on the moon.

As usual, the festival has booked a great lineup for the PLUR electronic music stage featuring ODESZA, Martin Garrix and Sofi Tukker. For those in the mood for something a bit harder, the reformed A Perfect Circle will be out playing from their April release —“Eat The Elephant.” This year will also see a performance from local favorite Marilyn Manson.

If all of this wasn’t enough entertainment for one weekend, the incomparable Janelle Monáe rounds out the excellent slate of headliners at this year’s event. Her latest release—“Dirty Computer”—is one of the great records of the year. Regular readers of this column know that when it comes to festivals I’m always looking for the great bands in the smaller fonts of the poster. Voodoo has delivered here as well.  

Make sure to take the time to swing by and see some of Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Lizzo, Tinashe, Big Thief, White Reaper, Mt. Joy and CAAMP.  I particularly recommend Big Thief—Adrianne Lenker and company have released two of the great indie folk albums of the last five years. You’ll want to see that one for sure.

Of course, while the music may be the main draw of Voodoo, there is a whole lot more to see and do. The food is great. The costumes are amazing. There’s a carnival and the grounds are host to a number of art installations. Over the past 20 years Voodoo has insinuated itself into the Halloween experience in New Orleans so completely that it’s impossible to imagine them apart. We’ll see you out there.

Playlist of mentioned bands available at:


Must-See Music


October 2

Mothers experiment at Gasa Gasa.


October 3

Ms. Lauryn Hill holds court at Lakefront Arena.


October 5

Hinds rock Gasa Gasa.


October 6

Father John Misty professes at The Civic.


October 7

Jungle brings the soul to Republic.


October 11

Chvrches pop into the Joy.


October 15

The Breeders rock The Civic.


October 17

Bob Moses make Republic move.


October 24

Too Many Zooz funk up One Eyed Jacks.


October 24

Kero Kero Bonito pop into the Hi-Ho.


Dates are subject to change; email or contact him through Twitter @Minima.