July 4-7, 2013
The nation's preeminent showcase for African American musical talent, the Essence Music Festival, returns to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center over the weekend of July 4-7 with a blockbuster musical lineup, plus an A-list of distinguished speakers on the subjects of empowerment and the African American experience.
As they have done every year (except one) since 1994, the publishers of Essence magazine continue to sponsor the festival which has annually brought tens of thousands of visitors to New Orleans with a dazzling array of superstars and renowned speakers. This year is no exception. Musical headliners include Beyonce, Jill Scott, LL Cool J and the "Cupid Shuffle" guy himself, Cupid. Renowned speakers include Civil Rights pioneer and U.S. Congressman John Lewis, bestselling author Iyanla Vanzant, Hip Hop mogul Master P and TV show host Steve Harvey.
Other musical headliners for the 2013 EssenceFest include:
- Anthony David
- Big Daddy Kane
- Keyshia Cole
- Bridget Kelly
- Leela James
- Charlie Wilson
- Faith Evans
- Jody Watley
- Kourtney Heart
- Rachelle Farrell
- New Edition
- Trey Songz
- Mint Condition
- Janelle Monae
And the sultry, French-singing, Grammy-nominated duo from Cameroun, Les Nubians! Plus New Orleans' own Mia Borders. For a complete list of performers go to www.essence.com/festival/schedule/artist.
Inspirational and business-related seminars, aimed at empowering African American men and women, are also held concurrent with the Fest. Top names in the African American business and spiritual communities are frequently enlisted to present at these seminars. Among this year's speakers announced so far are:
- Denise Warren: fitness guru
- Rev. Al Sharpton: political activist
- Chanté Moore: award-winning R&B and pop singer
- Dr. Michael Lomax: President/CEO, United Negro College Fund
- Marc Morial: President, National Urban League and former New Orleans mayor
- Eleanor Holmes Norton: Congresswoman, District of Columbia
- Myrlie Evers-Williams: Civil Rights leader, widow of Medgar Evers
- Karen Carter Peterson: La. State Senator
- Kenya Moore: former Miss USA and star of "Real Housewives of Atlanta"
- Robin D. Stone: journalist and renowned nutritionist
- Donnie McClurkin: gospel singer and syndicated radio show host
- Dr. Denese O. Shervington: President/CEO, Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies, a community-based public health institute in New Orleans
- Dr. Steve Perry: Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, Essence magazine columnist, bestselling author
- Bishop Lester Love: Pastor, The City of Love Church, New Orleans
- Tramaine Hawkins: renowned gospel singer, formerly with Edwin Hawkins Singers ("O Happy Day")
Entertainers who will either speak, sing or perform include;
- Doug E. Fresh
- Biz Markie
- The Brass-A-Holics
- Gina Brown
- Kim Burrell
- Stooges Brass Band
- Yolanda Adams
- Tyronne Foster and the Arc Singers
- Traci and Trina Braxton
More speakers may be announced before the festival opens. For a complete list of speakers go to www.essence.com/festival/schedule/speaker.
EssenceFest also gives African American artists, writers, craftsmen, culinary artists, businesspeople and others a chance to show and sell their wares. Streets in the Central Business District temporarily become outdoor markets, with booths featuring art, books, food, business, educational information and more.
Also, at the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, the Essence Marketplace features a distinctive exhibit of quality fine art and fine crafts reflective of the rich cultural heritage developed throughout the African Diaspora. This includes decorative, functional, wearable and collectible art items such as clothing, jewelry, paintings, sculpture, dolls, beadwork, quilts, clay/ceramics, metal art, and much more – plus artist demonstrations.
Ticket packages are now on sale at http://www.ticketmaster.com/Essence-Music-Festival-tickets/artist/854752?brand=essence. Single night tickets will be available at a later date.
Some hotels offer special deals for Fest-goers. For more information about EssenceFest go to www.essence.com.
Travelistas Essence Video
Follow Travelistas Andrea and Teri as they give you the cultural hotspots and the events connected to the Essence Festival. Join them as they find out why the Essence festival is always a go-to event.