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On Friday, organizers confirmed in an announcement on social media and the festival’s website that the event won’t happen this year, calling it a “pause.”
New Orleans’ major spring festivals — the Jazz & Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Festival and the BUKU Music + Art Project — all returned in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Essence Festival of Culture is set for an in-person comeback the first weekend in July.
The Voodoo Fest is an annual festival held in City Park featuring national and local acts. It draws a heavy crowd of young people from the city and surrounding areas and is usually held on Halloween weekend.
Organizers did not give a reason for the cancellation, but said more updates would be posted on social media. The last festival was in October 2019, five months before the pandemic shutdown.
Voodoo had been on a roll before the coronavirus pandemic. Total attendance for the three-day 20th anniversary in 2018, which featured Mumford & Sons, Travis Scott, Janelle Monáe and the Arctic Monkeys, was reportedly 180,000. That was a 20 percent increase over the 2016 and 2017 totals of 150,000, and an even greater leap over previous years, The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.
Neither Don Kelly, who’s served as Voodoo’s director in recent years, nor a spokesperson for C3 Presents, the event’s producer, had responded to messages seeking comment on 2022′s cancellation and what it might mean for the future of the festival.
One person disappointed by Voodoo’s disappearance is Jeff Borne, whose company runs the Mortuary Haunted House, and for several years, gave the festival its Halloween flavor, the newspaper reported.
Being involved with Voodoo “was a great experience,” Borne said. “It’s one of our favorite things to do. We’re disappointed that it’s not happening this year.”
His fall will be unusually quiet. The Scream Park, a scary, alternative amusement park that his company produced at City Park’s Scout Island, won’t return. He’ll focus instead on the Mortuary, which opens in September, then wait to see whether Voodoo comes back from the dead in 2023.
“I hope so,” Borne said. “It means a lot to New Orleans. But in the big picture, it’s not that big of a thing for C3 and Live Nation.”
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