This year's ninth annual Voodoo Music Experience, held Oct. 26-28 at New Orleans' City Park, drew approximately 150,000 concertgoers, again breaking past attendance records, according to Stephen Rehage, the festival's founder and producer.

Rehage, who also serves as president of New York/New Orleans-based Rehage Entertainment, tells Billboard.biz that last year's event drew about 93,000 fans. He attributes the attendance spike this year to two things: adding a third day and not having to deal with a life-threatening hurricane. "Not having [Hurricane Katrina] destroy the city 60 days before the event was helpful," he says.

Along with headliners Rage Against the Machine, Kings Of Leon, Smashing Pumpkins, Ben Harper, Wilco, Dr. John and Fall Out Boy, this year's Voodoo featured performances from M.I.A., Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sinead O'Connor, Spoon, Common, Plain White T's, the Black Crowes and many others.

Rehage declined to comment on the festival's ticket grosses this year.

Billboard.biz caught up with Rehage to discuss changes and additions to this year's Voodoo Music Experience.

Why did you decide to expand to three days this year?
The event has been on a similar path to that of a lot of the residents, and some former residents of New Orleans since Katrina, in that we have all moved around. Voodoo has had four sites in four years.

To the outside world, there hasn't been much good news on how things are progressing in the city, but things are improving every day. We want to make the statement that we are not only here to stay, but committed to keep growing this festival. We will all continue to take steps forward, not backwards.

Were there any other new editions to Voodoo this year?
We added an area called the Bingo Parlor, which we co-booked and produced with the New Orleans art troupe The Bingo Show. It showcased the bohemian side of the city's music scene exploding in the Bywater area. It's safe to say we will need a bigger tent next year.

There is no surprise that Rage Against the Machine put on a performance of a lifetime. (RATM frontman) Zack de la Rocha took the tour through the Ninth Ward before going on stage, and the impact of that seemed to carry through the performance. His onstage comment that our government is at war in two places: Iraq and with the citizens of New Orleans. That led to an impromptu chant of, "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" (lyrics from RATM's "Killing In the Name Of"). It was pretty moving.

Do you think the New Orleans concert biz is still feeling the affects of Hurricane Katrina? Did it affect this year's Voodoo?
Having your city dwindle from 600,000 to 150,000 people certainly affects all aspects of the economy. As for Voodoo, we had record attendance, which I believe shows that people around the world still care about seeing the culture and traditions of this great musical city. It not only survived, but will one day flourish again.

Explain theartistrevolution.com and what role it played in
Voodoo.

The Artist Revolution started out as a store front for our live festival recordings but then turned into something bigger once the technology was developed. It is now the home of the Voodoo archives and also a place that any artist can use to create an independent career.

Any plans you can reveal for next year's festival?
Next year will be the 10th anniversary of Voodoo. We're already talking about how we will celebrate it in unique New Orleans way.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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