NEW ORLEANS - It's become one of the largest music festivals in the country, and City Park's biggest fundraiser. That's part of why park officials have agreed to allow overnight camping during the annual Voodoo Experience for the first time this year. But some neighbors are worried it will do more harm than good.
"I realize it's not Occupy City Park but the reality of it, it seems to me, it's going to create all kinds of issues that come to mind," said Chuck Lody. "It seems to me it's going to be a huge problem more than a benefit."
But Brandon Dominick, who has been going to Voodoo Fest since 2000, is thrilled with the idea.
"I think that's pretty sweet because you can wake up, go to the fest, then go to sleep at the fest, then do it all over again," said Dominick.
The field across from NOLA City Bark dog park will become a campground for Voodoo Fest goers from noon Thursday, October 25th until noon Monday, October 29th. During that time, according to thevoodooexperience.com, there will be 24 hour security, portable restrooms, potable water and 24 hour First Aid.
"It's in the center of the park," said City Park CEO Bob Becker. "It's away from surrounding neighborhoods, so we can put events out here where we want to limit the impact."
No open flames, pets, weapons or people under 18 will be allowed. Becker said officials plan to shut down part of Zachary Taylor Drive and allow campers to park there during the festival.
The cost for campers? At least $150 to bring a two-person tent for the weekend. VIP camping, with move-in ready tents, runs $1,500. No one will be allowed on the campgrounds unless they first purchase a weekend ticket to Voodoo Fest.
That's an incentive for the self-funded City Park, which is building new festival grounds this year near Christian Brothers School. The fest production company, Rehage Entertainment, has been hoping to allow camping for years. But Becker calls it an experiment.
"Many other major music festivals in the country have limited camping, so we had a site and thought well okay, we can give this a shot," said Becker. "If it works, great, if it doesn't work, we won't do it the next year."
A spokeswoman for Rehage Entertainment said it's premature to comment because camping details are still being worked out.