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Preview: 2012 Voodoo Experience 

Alex Woodward runs down the annual music fest, which features comebacks and new faces

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JULIE GARDNER

This year's Voodoo Experience (Oct. 26-28) is about comebacks. Familiar faces return to New Orleans with new looks and bigger names (and crowds). While familiars Neil Young & Crazy Horse (pictured), Green Day, Skrillex and Jack White will land the largest audiences, a newcomer already is making a splash at the annual music festival: this year, the festival introduces a campground, inviting fans to camp out Bonnaroo-style at City Park. Campers can purchase a general admission camping ticket, but big spenders won't have to rough it. The Loa package includes a safari-style tent, electricity, bedding, breakfast and snacks, showers and bathrooms.

  Young's most famous backing band has powered more than 20 of his albums, including 1969's landmark sophomore album Everybody Knows This is Nowhere and a pair of 2012 albums: heavy duty folk covers album Americana and Psychedelic Pill, due in late October. It's the first time Crazy Horse has hit the road with Young since 2003 — Young's last stop in New Orleans, at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, brought a crunchy, fuzzed-out rock concert to the Fairgrounds.

  Green Day last appeared at the 2004 Voodoo Experience (alongside a decidedly stacked lineup, including Beastie Boys, Pixies and Sonic Youth). The pop-punk outfit's latest ambitious album plans, following the award-winning rock operas American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, is an album trilogy (Uno, Dos and Tre), leaning more toward power-pop and dance music.

  White's schizophrenic band relationships — from dark blues wizards The Dead Weather to rock 'n' roll supergroup The Raconteurs to his ill-fated garage duo The White Stripes — has put the Detroit renaissance man on a solo bender, releasing the acclaimed Blunderbuss earlier this year before a sweeping U.S. tour.

  Dubstep provocateur Skrillex gave last year's inaugural Buku Music + Art Project a dose of star power, and he returns to New Orleans to headline Voodoo's growing Le Plur electronic music stage, which seemingly has spun into a mini-festival of its own.

  Other headliners include rap legend Nas, as well as Avett Brothers, Die Antwoord, Coheed & Cambria, Gary Clark Jr., Justice, Silversun Pickups, Thomas Dolby and dozens others, with a strong local lineup from Feufollet to Katey Red to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. — ALEX WOODWARD

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