travis scott buku 3

Year five for the BUKU Music + Art Project brings out the locals amid an odd put together lineup.

“What is this festival trying to be?”

Personally, I’ve covered the BUKU Music + Art Project for a different outlets. There’s always the lingering issue of the festival lineup just being all over the place. Why? Who knows. Maybe they just want the festival to be a part of the culture; like a giant pot of buku gumbo filled with genre flavors for all tastebuds. But if we look at last year’s turnout, Buku sold the entire festival out for both days. This year, however, didn’t quite go the same way.

Entering the festival a little after gates opened on Friday, there wasn’t that usual rush of people running in to the festival trying to get to that first performance of the day. In fact, most of the festival attendees didn’t really show up until around 6-8 PM. Maybe people were worried about the rain? Maybe the acts during the day just weren’t of attendee preference? The festival was really just kind of bare for most of the day.

Day One

EDM was supposed to be the big get of Friday. There was a nice touch of alternative with Car Seat Headrest cutting up the monotony but outside of that, the only hip hop acts were Juvenile, Lil Yachty and Travis Scott. Young Thug, one of the original headliners for this year’s Buku Music + Art Project canceled at the last minute. Given Thug’s sporadic history with certain show dates, no one was truly surprise.

With hours and hours of EDM sounds compared to the few hip hop performances, there was such an unbalanced ratio. If you’re going to throw an EDM festival, throw an EDM festival. If you’re going to throw a genre mixed festival, balance it out.

Some attendees literally waited all day just to see Travis Scott. A boy dressed up as Young Thug wearing a makeshift Alessandro dress and hat as Thugger did on his album cover for Jeffrey. When he read, “Young Thug will not be performing. We called our homie Juvenile though to take his place” on the big screen, he was crushed. A rather nonchalant message, right? Fans were pissed. The main Power Plant stage emptied out not long after. Fans debated if they wanted to see Juvenile (a return performer from 2016’s Buku Music + Art Project), and some kept wondering if they should even stay for the rest of the weekend. Some only came to catch Young Thug and when he didn’t show, they altogether left.

Day Two

A rainy morning and cloudy overcast the rest of the way, day two saw many Buku attendees not arrive until late in the afternoon, if not evening. Ambré, who was one of the first performers of the day, did actually have people trying to make it to her set. However, this was at 4 PM and sadly all of 50 people showed up. A shame considering how vibrant Ambré is as an R&B act, especially considering that she’s from New Orleans.

Moving into the day, there definitely was more hip-hop than Day 1, but it was almost as if the line-up was all over the place. Day 2’s consisted of Aminé, Vince Staples, Run the Jewels and 21 Savage. The tragic part about 21’s set? He was aimless and didn’t even perform his own music for most of it.

Also, a very promising and exclusive showcase a majority of attendees were excited to see? Saint Heron’s showcase. Solange’s brand were scheduled to bring out a couple artists and have some DJ sets, but alas, another cancellation. A couple hours before the showcase was set to start, Buku announced a message about lack of production elements & that the showcase was cancelled.

Cancellations & more mar what would have been an eventful Buku Fest.

Saint Heron did in fact, move the showcase to another venue close by, but attendees weren’t leaving to go to that showcase then come back to Buku for 21 Savage. With almost 3,000 scheduled to see 21, this was going to be the biggest headliner of the day. Leave it to the luck of the weekend that 21’s performance was subpar at best. Fans got three or four records from No Plug before 21 appeared and when the “No Heart” rapper did show, fans were left a little upset. He strolled the stage having other people perform and fans only ended up hearing three actual 21 records from the man himself. If you were hoping that BUKU would close after a frenetic Run The Jewels set with a massive close from 21 Savage, you were far more hopeful than many.

A solo 21 Savage performance may be the most mythical thing going on in festival rap these days. Until then, we merely realized that much like Soulquarius from this past February, every decent plan can go awry thanks to human error.