Five Things to Avoid at Voodoo Fest 2013

The annual Voodoo Festival starts today, bringing people from all over the gulf coast region to the New Orleans event. Taking place in the gorgeous City Park in the north part of the city, this years event is set to feature the likes of Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and The Cure as we'll as a smattering of national and local acts spread out over four stages.

With the weather finally starting to cool down, there is no better time to hit a festival. If you've never been to Voodoo, it's a one-of-a-kind event that offers a not-so-typical festival experience.

5. Corndogs and Funnel Cakes Yes, Voodoo offers your standard festival food like funnel cakes and sweet and sour chicken, but you're going to miss out a whole lot if you don't step out of the box and try one of the many local offerings. You'd be hard-pressed to go wrong with any étouffée, creole or boudin, but my personal favorite dish is the shrimp and crawfish bread bowls that feature a creamy seafood concoction overfilling a freshly baked local sourdough bowl.

4. Your hotel New Orleans offers a varied array of options to entertain you while you're in town. If you're not at the festival, which runs from 10:30 in the morning until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday and until 9 on Sunday, there are several things you should be doing rather than watching TV in the hotel.

There are key times, however, that you should be in the hotel. Because you don't want to miss anything at the festival, it's good to get some sleep so between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is scheduled nap time. That's pretty much all the time you should spend there.

3. Sleep There really isn't much of an option on sleeping when you're in New Orleans, so avoiding it is pretty easy. New Orleans is just like Las Vegas, only it was founded by pirates rather than mobsters. It's fun for a reason -- it has fewer rules than everywhere else.

Their drinking laws are so lax that it makes it pretty damn easy to fall into some sort of debauchery. Before you know it, you look at your phone and it brightly displays the number you didn't want or expect to see, the dreaded 5 a.m. So you say fuck it and go order another shot at the bar because you can.

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2. The younguns As I grow in age, my annoyance for youngsters at shows continues to grow. While I can't say for certain, I believe they've grown considerably worse these days. They travel in packs, which gain in intensity with the growing hours of the day, and relentlessly smash through crowds without even thinking about their rudeness.

Voodoo features a healthy EDM lineup, with one of four stages completely focused on the genre, but even though they have some of the best in the game like Calvin Harris and Bassnectar, it pulls in the largest conglomerate of young teens. Thankfully, they generally stay there, so the other three stages are where you should be if you want to avoid the youngsters.

1. The music you don't like This festival features pretty much every type of music you could possibly ask for. With four stages continually running, there is always something for everyone, but if you find yourself at a stage with a band you might not like (say, Kid Rock), Voodoo allows you to avoid that with stellar choices from stage to stage. Even if you find yourself in a spot where you haven't heard of any of the bands, go see a little bit if all of them. I promise you'll go home with a new band or three to look up.

Voodoo is great about bringing in talent that you otherwise wouldn't see anywhere else. I've caught so many quality acts, but the most intriguing of the bunch this year would have to be an early evening set from the one and only Billy Squier. To hear "The Stroke" live is something I've always wanted but never known.

So here's to a great Voodoo Fest 2013 full of good tunes, great food and perfect companionship. I look forward to sharing my words and photos after the long weekend.


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