The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is a music and arts festival held each October in New Orleans. Taking place in City Park on the weekend before Halloween, the festival attracts top musical acts to the main stage and hosts a variety of art installations, performance artists and cuisine.

Many festivalgoers turn up in colorful costumes to celebrate Halloween – and because the party-loving people of New Orleans always love the chance to dress up outlandishly.   

The 3-day festival features more than 65 bands playing on 4 different stages, representing a range of musical styles from hip hop to rock to electronic dance. Guns N’ Roses, The Weeknd, Duran Duran, Snoop Dogg, Deadmau5, Moby and Eminem are among the chart-topping artists who have played at Voodoo since it was first held in 1999.

The event also gives local Louisiana musicians a chance to showcase their talents on their home turf, with the likes of Trombone Shorty, the Rebirth Brass Band, and Honey Island Swamp Band having performed there.

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans - one of the highlights of 10 Best Places to Learn about Voodoo in New Orleans and 10 Best Festivals in New Orleans (Read all about New Orleans here)

What are the highlights of the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience?

Though visitors to the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience are coming mainly for the music, they’ll also be immersed into the gorgeous setting of City Park, with its 1,300 acres of mature oak trees, moss canopies and scenic walking trails.

Beyond the festival’s great mix of music, you’ll also be able to explore some interactive art exhibitions, hop on a few carnival rides, browse the art market, and sample some local craft brews in the beer tent.

Food is also a major draw for the Voodoo fest, with everything from local Shrimp Poboy dishes to an international selection of Thai, Mexican, Greek and more on offer from dozens of vendors around the festival grounds. If you’re not quite ready to stop the party when the festival acts are finished for the day, you could head out to watch more shows at venues around downtown like Orpheum Theater and House of Blues.

Spooky encounters at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Halloween is a major theme that runs throughout the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, with exhibits and experiences set up to offer some added spooky thrills to the festival. Past events have featured such installations as Casa Modelo, where you can celebrate the Day of the Dead with free skeletal face painting and trippy blacklight tunnel art.

The Voodoo festival also has a “fright zone” set up by the people who run the popular Mortuary’s Haunted House on Canal Street. Expect to get the heart racing and keep a lookout for zombies as you wander through the zone’s haunted house and interactive graveyard. You’ll also find plenty of ghoulish looks in the crowds, with many festival fans dressed up as ghosts, scary clowns, vampires, and other creepy characters. 

Good to know about the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

The best way to get to the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is by public transportation since there’s limited parking in and around City Park. You can take one of the city’s famous streetcars to the New Orleans Museum of Art, which is a short walk away from the festival grounds.

Cameras with long lenses are not allowed in the festival, though camera phones can be brought along. You’re also not permitted to bring any of your own food or beverages. Those worried about carrying money can choose to use the Voodoo Cashless system where you can pay using your entry wristband. 

It’s advised to bring wet-weather clothing as the outdoor festival runs rain or shine – in 2019, Guns N’ Roses famously played through 3 solid hours of pouring rain (luckily for them, there’s no "cold November Rain" in semi-tropical New Orleans).

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans

Location: City Park, 1 Palm Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124, USA

Lana Willocks | Contributing Writer