MUSIC: Voodoo vs. Vegoose again? Let's hope so


    The competition has spoken, but will Vegoose be around to respond?
    Today, the initial headliners were announced for the Voodoo Music Experience, which takes place in New Orleans’ City Park over Halloween weekend and normally goes head to head with Vegas’ premier music fest. The bill includes such solid, albeit shopworn acts as R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails and the Stone Temple Pilots.
    Last year, the two fests shared a headliner in Rage Against the Machine, who closed out what was a banner year, qualitywise, for Vegoose.
    But since then, the folks behind Vegoose have remained noncommittal on whether or not the fest will return in 2008, or if it will take place at a different time of the year.
    After a solid debut in 2005, when the event drew more than 70,000 fans, Vegoose took a big hit in 2006 when attendance dropped a whopping 58 percent down to a shade north of 30,000.
    Driven by a superb lineup that featured excellent performances by such big names as Daft Punk, The Stooges and Muse, the fest saw attendance increase to around 40,000 last year, though it remains to be seen if that’s enough to make this a viable annual event. 
    The fest, which takes place at the Star Nursery Fields outside of Sam Boyd Stadium, faces some obstacles.
    Halloween is a traditionally slow time, touristwise, in Vegas, and so far, Vegoose has relied mostly on out of state fans to boost the gate, having struggled to gain traction among local concertgoers, who benefit from such an abundance of local entertainment options.
     And then there’s the fact that, in recent years, there’s been a number of new entries in the stand-alone, European-style music fest, with such annual big draws as Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza being joined by the Sasquatch Music Fest outside of Seattle, the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore, the All Points West bill in New Jersey, which is put on by the same folks who do Coachella, and Denver's Mile High Music Fest.
    All these fests rely on out-of-state travel to boost attendance, and with an increasing number of options for music fans to choose from each year and gas prices making travel increasingly expensive, it’s only natural some people are going to be a bit more selective and a few fests may lose out.  
    Still, Vegoose has proven itself to be such a diverse, entertaining event, we can only hope it hangs around long enough to find its legs and keep bootin’ Voodoo in the backside.