With most of New Orleans pumped dry and businesses beginning to clean up after Hurricane Katrina, one of the city’s musical gems has decided to come back home … for one day, anyway.
Last month, organizers announced that they would move the seventh-annual Voodoo Music Experience to Memphis’ Tom Lee Park (see “Voodoo Music Experience Relocates From New Orleans To Memphis” ). Now organizers say that they will split the festival into two parts, with the first night’s show (October 29) taking place in New Orleans, and the second (October 30) in Memphis. The concert will be the first full-scale, large entertainment event within city limits since the disastrous hurricane and subsequent flood hit the city on August 29.
According to a message posted on the show’s official Web site, the shows will be focused on “Two cities united with a common goal: to celebrate and renew the city of New Orleans. As a sign of support and rebirth as New Orleans begins to rebuild, this observance of music will bring together the diversity of culture that serves as the foundation for both cities.”
The invitation-only New Orleans show at Riverview Park will celebrate the efforts of those who’ve worked on the cleanup and recovery efforts in the city for the past six weeks. Previous ticket holders will be welcomed to the New Orleans show, along with police, firefighters, National Guard, military and others who’ve worked on restoring the city.
“In the course of the past few weeks, the outpouring of support from not only the music industry, but from people from all walks of life, who want to come together to celebrate New Orleans has been tremendous,” festival producer Stephen Rehage said in a statement. “The ability to move forward in two cities — with so much music history — is overwhelming to everyone involved with this year’s event. We want to thank all the artists who have shown their support by honoring their commitment to this historic event. We all look forward to making this weekend one to remember.”
The festival was originally scheduled to take place over Halloween weekend in New Orleans’ City Park. When Katrina hit, organizers moved the entire show to Memphis, but they had a change of heart when community leaders in New Orleans approached them about moving the show back for a day as a tribute to the relief workers. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the New Orleans Restoration Fund as well as Mercy Corps, Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations working to restore the city’s famed cultural heritage.
The New Orleans bill will feature Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Digable Planets, the Bravery, New York Dolls, LCD Soundsystem, the Secret Machines, H.I.M., Sevendust, VHS or Beta, the Rebirth Brass Band and more than 20 other acts.
The Memphis show will take place at AutoZone Park and feature Cake, the North Mississippi Allstars, the Decemberists, New York Dolls, Better Than Ezra, VHS or Beta, Sevendust, Cowboy Mouth, H.I.M., World Leader Pretend and the Giraffes.
Memphis will also host a series of free downtown concerts beginning on October 27 and continuing through the weekend; lineups for those shows have not yet been announced. In addition, such New Orleans legends as Dr. John and the Neville Brothers will play special New Orleans-themed concerts on the city’s Beale Street.
To find out what you can do to help provide relief to victims of Katrina, head to think MTV’s hurricane relief page.