Local artists prepare for BUKU Music + Art Festival

Maria DiFelice

The BUKU Music + Art Festival is returning to New Orleans after a two-year pandemic hiatus, and local artists are ready to take the stage.
BUKU was founded in 2012 to celebrate the youthful, vibrant, and creative culture of New Orleans, according to the festival’s website. Since then, festival organizers have put together lineups featuring a combination of big names and up-and-coming local talent
With BUKU celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, New Orleans-based DJ Antwigadee said he’s excited to help them commemorate the milestone.
“Performing as an individual artist for the 10-year anniversary just feels perfect to me,” he said.
Antwigadee said he’s honored to make BUKU the first music festival he’s ever performed at as an individual. Antwigadee said that while he’s helped other artists with their own festival performances, he’s excited to have the opportunity to perform his own music to a festival crowd.
Antwigadee grew up in New Orleans East and immersed himself in several different musical genres, which he said helped shape the artist he is today. Antwigadee said festival goers should expect to feel free and able to express themselves during his performance.
“I can play songs that people know, everybody can, but how can you make them feel better,” he said.
Ncognita, urban and electronic music production junior, grew up in Los Angeles but has spent the last three years making a name for herself in the New Orleans rap scene. This will be the rapper’s first appearance at BUKU after several years of trying to volunteer at the festival.
“I felt like a door had closed, but it all goes back to the mantra ‘one door closes, another one opens’ because I just feel like being rejected to volunteer made me work harder,” she said.
Ncognita said she considers her music an experience and wants people to have a good time during her set. She said that she plans on dropping a major project the day of her BUKU performance called “the Playbook”.
New Orleans rapper BluShakurX’s first ever performance was at BUKU in 2018 and she said that the festival was a real breakthrough moment for her career.
Now four years later, she’s been signed to Deathproof Incorporated, an independent label based in Los Angeles. Reflecting on her progress, she thanked her team for all the hard work they’ve put in and said their support was what allowed her to grow as an artist.
BluShakurX said BUKU attendees should expect realness and energy for her performance. She said she’ll be performing a mix of songs that she has written throughout her career, including some house music and indie music.
“I don’t care if you don’t know me before I get on stage, but I guarantee you will know me after I get off stage,” she told me.
BluShakurX said she’s thrilled to be able to perform at BUKU again and share a good time with her friends, fans, and the entire New Orleans community.
“We have to come back as a community. It is a reunion and to have these events back is to have New Orleans back,” she said.