The Le Plur stage has been home to electronic music since Voodoo Music + Arts Experience began in 1999, but only recently has the once-small dance area become one of the festival's major draws. From Deadmau5 and Bassnectar to this year's headliners Skrillex and Pretty Lights, the stage has hosted the biggest artists of an increasingly popular genre.
"New Orleans has this unique perspective on electronic music because Disco Donnie was based out of here and he kind of created the whole scene in the U.S.," says Voodoo founder and producer Stephen Rehage, who is currently the president of North American festivals for Live Nation Entertainment. "It happened, and then it kind of faded away and then came back stronger than ever. Throughout those years, you could see the effect on Voodoo, where it was a smaller part of the event with a very dedicated audience up to the point where a lot of the resources that we have now — which six years ago would have gone into the second and third acts on the main stage — are now going into the Le Plur stage."
In describing the recent rapid growth of Le Plur, Rehage recounts the experience of watching Jack White's performance on the main stage from the crowd two years ago as 15,000 fans flooded out of the gates at the end of Skrillex's set.
"Le Plur, in and of itself, takes a lot more energy to produce than all the other stages combined," Rehage says. "The nuances that go into it ... there is a lot of attention to detail that goes into the production, and it's certainly not something that we treat as a secondary stage. It is a main stage for all intents and purposes. It takes more time and energy than any stage out there."
This year, the Le Plur lineup was curated for the first time by Hard, a concert brand best known for large-scale electronic events such as the Hard Day of the Dead festival in California and the Holy Ship! electronic music cruise. As a DJ on the stage last year, Hard CEO Gary Richards says he noticed a few things at Le Plur that could be done differently. "I put my two cents into it this year, but they seem to know pretty well what they're doing," Richards says. "They've been very successful for a long time."
Le Plur highlights
Friday, Oct. 31
8:30 p.m. Friday
With a background in classical music, Zedd began his career as an electronic producer and DJ in 2009, with a series of acclaimed remixes including Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites." One of the Le Plur artists with the most crossover success, Zedd has climbed charts internationally with hits "Clarity," "Stay the Night" (featuring Paramore's Haley Williams) and "Break Free" with Ariana Grande.
6:15 p.m. Friday
The Swedish electronic duo Galantis features Miike Snow's Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson and Style of Eye's Linus Eklow, co-writer and producer of Icona Pop's hit "I Love It." Two of the duo's biggest songs, "You" and "Smile," have been remixed and referenced by some of electronic music's biggest DJs including Tiesto, Diplo and Kaskade.
Saturday, Nov. 1
9 p.m. Saturday
One of the most influential and prolific electronic producers and DJs, Skrillex has been at the forefront of the genre since 2010's Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP. He has collected six Grammy Awards and has co-produced hits with Ellie Goulding and rapper A$AP Rocky.
7:45 p.m. Saturday
As a co-founder of Circus Records, Joshua Kierkegaard G. Steele was instrumental in bringing dubstep into the mainstream. As the DJ behind Flux Pavilion, Steele's bass-heavy, synth-laden tracks have been used in movie trailers and video games, and sampled by Kanye West and Jay Z.
5:30 p.m. Saturday
Pete Tong is one of the elder statesmen of the electronic scene, and his presence at Le Plur Saturday acts as an anchor for devoted fans of the genre. As a DJ for BBC Radio 1, Tong has been a global ambassador for electronic music since the early 1990s and is considered one of the genre's most respected tastemakers.
Sunday, Nov. 2
Church with Unicorn Fukr
11:30 a.m. Sunday
The weekly Church parties at Dragon's Den have been at the center of the New Orleans electronic music scene since 2010. As the organizer, Unicorn Fukr has been at the forefront of the development of the local electronic dance music (EDM) community, working with local DJs including Carmine P. Filthy to bring nationally known DJs to the city and promote New Orleans EDM.
Fedde Le Grand
6 p.m. Sunday
The electronica anthem "Put Your Hands Up 4 Detroit" sent Dutch house DJ and producer Fedde Le Grand to the top of the dance charts in 2006. Considered by many to be the contemporary face of house music, Le Grand's production talents have been used by Madonna, Will.i.am and Coldplay.
7:30 p.m. Sunday
Pretty Lights is the performance moniker for American EDM artist Derek Vincent Smith, whose combination of digital samples and organic beats earned him a nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards. The album, A Color Map of the Sun, used groundbreaking production techniques and was partially recorded in New Orleans with Preservation Hall producer Earl Scioneaux.