This year's ESSENCE Music Festival, July 5-8, celebrates its 18th anniversary by adding on a fourth day of music to the calendar! ESSENCE Fest, the leading festival for African-American recording artists, will feature Soul, Funk, Hip-Hop and R&N artists, with the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin headlining.
Each night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Main Stage will be electrified with performances by the hottest stars in R&B, soul and gospel. Don't miss each night's line up including a performance by Aretha Franklin, who will receive the first ever Power Award! Doors open at 6pm each night. Main Stage performances start at 6:30p.m. Appearing on the Main Stage are Grammy award-winning artists Fantastia, Mary J. Blige, D'Angelo - who will be making his first US stage appearance in over a decade - The Pointer Sisters and more. Other industry giants appearing in the Superlounge include Grammy nominee Trey Songz, Vivian Green, Estelle, SWV, Goapele and Kindred, The Family Soul.
Every day of the weekend ESSENCE will kick off the festivities with a block party at Champions Square where you can enjoy performances by Doug E. Fresh, Amanda Seales, MC Lyte and New Orleans natives Dee-1 and Kourtney Heart.
A fourth day was recently added to the calendar to specifically showcase rising talent. The festival kicks off the weekend with the first ever youth empowerment concert on the ESSENCE New & Next Stage on Thursday, June 5 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Upcoming artists Diggy Simmons, Coco Jones, Katlyn Nichol and more will perform with New Orleans natives Luke James and The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders Band.
Essence Music Festival is also known for its business and empowerment seminars. Business and spiritual gurus will be leading and guest speaking at seminars throughout the weekend. ESSENCE Magazine Editor-in-Chief Constance C.R. White will present an opening address, which will be followed by performances by Grammy award-winning Gospel singers Fred Hammond, Mary Mary and Yolanda Adams. Seminar speakers include:
Soledad O'Brien, CNN News Anchor
Ronald Mason Jr., President, Southern University System
Shirley Strawberry, Radio Personality
Michelle Ebanks, President of Essence Communications, Inc.
Fredricka Whitfield, CNN News Anchor
Marc H. Morial, President, National Urban League
Karen Carter Peterson, Louisiana State Senator
So join us for the party with a purpose. We'll see you there!
For information on tickets and VIP packages, please visit