Since 2012, BUKU Music + Art Project has brought together some of the best up-and-coming talent to New Orleans. Placing an emphasis on booking acts with fanatical grassroots followings, BUKU lineup's have been noteworthy for both their diversity and emphasis on underground artistry. This March 9-10, the rapidly growing festival by Winter Circle Productions is slated for its 7th edition. This year's billing takes that mantra to the next level; some of the fastest growing names across every genre from hip-hop to dubstep are slated to headline. The daily lineups were recently unveiled for Saturday and Sunday, and BUKU has established itself as the most complete billing we have seen released in 2018. Between the highly anticipated festival debut of Porter Robinson's Virtual Self project, the return of Bassnectar to NOLA, and a VIP stage with the best names in bass music, BUKU 2018 is an early contender for lineup of the year.
We cannot understate the hype generated by the daily lineup announcement, and with good reason. The VIP for the first evening reads like an award tour for the 2017 bass music scene. Eprom b2b Mad Zach, BlackGummy, SQUNTO, and DROELOE will all grace a stage curated by LA-based collective Space Yacht. Porter Robinson will perform as Virtual Self for the first time in a festival setting. Following an awe inspiring tour with longtime friend Madeon, Porter has once again shifted sounds. Virtual Self is neither the dreamlike melodies of Worlds, nor the filthy drops of Spitfire. The whole project contrasts to the aforementioned albums drastically; high-tempo beats and flashing visuals are a far cry from the fantastical adventure that was Worlds. Regardless of which project or alias, Porter has one of the most dedicated fanbases in all of electronic music. Appropriately, the hype is high for what will be Virtual Self’s first performance in a festival setting. We expect no less than masterful stage design and moving track selection from the once young prodigy at BUKU 2018.
BUKU 2018 will also mark the return of Bassnectar to the Big Easy. Whether a basshead or otherwise, it is hard to deny the presence Lorin brings to BUKU. The event sold out early during his last showing, a fact that does not go without mention amongst locals. After a leave of absence of three years, there’s no reason to imagine Saturday will be an exception to that rule.
The real strength of this year's edition of BUKU is an extremely relevant and diverse undercard. From DUCKY to CloZee, Winter Circle has shown immense attention to detail with their openers. CloZee is easily in the discussion for producer of the year, following an absolutely awe inspiring Oregon Eclipse set last August. Fan favorite DUCKY has virally spread with beats that favor no single genre. The breadth of options does not stop in the electronic spectrum, either. Brooklyn locals Flatbush Zombies represent some of the best in current hip hop, while MGMT and A Day to Remember add some nostalgia to the mix. Consider BUKU's undercard a list of every artist you should have seen in 2017.
Daily passes for BUKU Music + Arts Project 2018 are now available in both GA and VIP. A portion of proceeds go to Upbeat Academy, a non-profit that gives underprivileged youth the opportunity to learn to make music. VIP holders receive access to a rooftop stage overlooking the Lower Garden District as well as full open bar, making it one of the better festy deals we've seen. BUKU truly has its fingers to the pulse of it's fanbase, and this year's lineup is a clear reflection of that authenticity.