I sat down to write about Ellie’s concert the morning after and found that I couldn’t. I couldn’t sit there in some coffee shop writing about one of my favorite artists in one of my favorite cities in such a basic and everyday place. I decided, instead, to go on a walk through the French Quarter and investigate what its historically beautiful grounds had for my eyes and camera lens to feast upon while I listened to Ellie’s album, Halcyon, on repeat. What I found was that her music complemented the city’s scenery in such a beautiful way that I almost postponed my arrival to Day Two of BUKU in favor of investigating deeper into the vine-covered brick alley-like streets that are found in that area. Her voice drowned out the sound of the beeping cars (but unfortunately not the smell, with neighborhoods like The Garden District it seems like New Orleans would smell more like a rose and less like an East Village sidewalk) and enabled me to isolate myself and fully appreciate the world around me.

Her concert is similar in that way. Music festivals can often be⎯to say the least—terrifying. In a crowd of a few thousand, you can easily get distracted from the music. Ellie took the stage just after Zedd finished his wildly electronic set and got the crowd ready for a party, which could have potentially clashed with her all sugar, no spice, pop princess act. Instantaneously, the mood shifted from the average rave to a sea of fans ready to listen to her music. Ellie opened her set with “Figure 8” and danced around the stage in an energetic, yet aesthetically pleasing way, flipping her blonde hair around in a sparkling jacket. Throughout her set she performed a large chunk of her discography to date, as well as her latest song, “Burn,” which she closed with. The air around the stage was far from quiet, but wasn’t distracting or pushy in any way. Although people were dancing and singing along to every song, it wasn’t the sort of situation that made me dislike standing in a large crowd. People were so into her music and performance that it seemed they didn’t notice their immediate surroundings. Her set captivated the audience and was unlike the other performances earlier on where people were just there partying with someone to DJ in the background.

Ellie’s stage presence was wild and almost theatrical as she bounced in between belting out high notes to the few thousand people on the ground and pounding on the drums with equal passion. Whether you’re listening to Ellie from a pair of headphones trying to get lost in a beautiful place or in a live setting, you’ll have the same feeling of isolated bliss. If you’ve never been to an Ellie Goulding show, don’t pass up the opportunity when she brings her latest US tour to The Great Saltair on May 1.

Check out a review of The Glitch Mob’s BUKU performance and a full review of the festival here.