With another potentially disastrous hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, the organizers of the seventh annual Voodoo Music Experience have announced the festival is relocating to Memphis' Tom Lee Park this year.
The two-day event (October 29-30) is slated to take place over the Halloween weekend and, so far, Nine Inch Nails (whose leader, Trent Reznor, is a former New Orleans resident) are the only confirmed act. The original lineup featured My Chemical Romance, Foo Fighters, the Flaming Lips, Billy Idol, Queens of the Stone Age, Louis XIV, the Bravery, Brazilian Girls and dozens of others, but an event spokesperson said the lineup is being reworked as artists confirm their availability.
The event was also scheduled to debut a New Orleans-flavored side stage this year, featuring such legendary Crescent City talent as Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, the Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins and Bonerama. That stage's lineup is also up in the air. The festival was originally slated to take place in New Orleans' City Park, but after Katrina devastated the city, organizers announced that it would likely move.
Proceeds from this year's event will benefit the New Orleans Restoration Fund, and highlights from the show will air on VH1 on November 5. Proceeds will also be donated to Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps and other national and local organizations helping Hurricane Katrina victims and working to restore New Orleans' cultural landmarks.
"Since our home base is New Orleans, it's been an especially difficult time for us, with staff losing homes and offices, and some of them losing everything," Experience founder Stephen Rehage said in a statement. "Moving a festival of this magnitude has been no easy task, and we are grateful to the city of Memphis for extending their hospitality, to Trent Reznor for voicing his advocacy of NORF and Voodoo, to all the artists dedicating their time and energy to support the cause and to our incredible group of people working on this project for their dedication and support over these last few weeks."
On Friday, Reznor pledged to help the Voodoo fest, saying, "It means a lot to me that the Voodoo Music Experience is continuing on, and I look forward to being a part of this amazing New Orleans tradition. It's great that other cities have opened their doors to this year's event, and the New Orleans spirit will definitely remain in the air — that's something the floods cannot wash away. We are going to be part of the rebuilding process and we are asking the entire music community to join us."
In the wake of Katrina, authorities are taking no chances with Hurricane Rita, which has caused the postponement of a number of concerts in its path, including a Mötley Crüe show slated for Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston, as well as shows by Coldplay on Saturday and Oasis on Sunday at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion near Houston. Organizers of this weekend's Austin City Limits Festival are going ahead with the event, though, according to the event's Web site; they're keeping an eye on the weather and have promised to call it off if the storm becomes a threat to fans or performers.
To find out what you can do to help provide relief to victims of Katrina, head to think MTV's hurricane relief page.