Voodoo Festival banishes zombie blues

T'Shanda Baldridge
Kiss plays before a huge crowd Saturday night.

Tara May played the part of a Voodoo Festival zombie on Halloween to the hilt.

While modeling her white dress, black and white leggings and zombie face paint, the 10-year-old from Metairie explained why she likes Voodoo.

“I can dress in my Halloween costume and have more fun trick or treating and getting lots of candy,” she said.

Her mother Kathleen May of Metairie said her daughter has grown to love the atmosphere of the festival as much as she does.

“I decided three years ago she was old enough to be exposed to live music at this level and have never looked back on my decision,” May said.

Although the festival has changed over the years, May said one thing remains constant. “There is always a wide range of ages and cultures gathering for the music.”

“This year is the best,” Tara May said.

The festival this year had one of its biggest lineups ever, with headliners Eminem, Kiss, Lenny Kravitz, Janes Addiction and the Flaming Lips.

Local New Orleans kinetic rockers Mutemath and the all over the stage manic energy of Gogol Bordello helped warm the crowds up Saturday, and college radio station favorites The Black Keys amplified their two-man band sounds Friday with a backup group.

While the big name bands played to large crowds, others like Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine gave intensely personal performances at smaller stages. Biafra, formerly the frontman for The Dead Kennedys howled his way through the Halloween night Saturday before a screaming crowd of about 250 fans.

The Preservation Hall tent seemed to always have a perfectly sized crowd with generally available stage front access for the likes of Walter “Wolfman” Washington with Roadmaster and the Dirty Dozen Horns, and the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars.

The crowds included a large contingent of fans from both east Ascension Parish and the Donaldsonville area.

Jello Biafra with his new band the Guantanamo School of Medicine gave a manic Halloween performance.