Home Music Industry News 20th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival Breaks Attendance Record

20th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival Breaks Attendance Record


If you were not in New Orleans this past weekend, you missed an amazing blend of talent, food, laughter, dancing, and hot weather.  Whether it’s the morning cup of coffee and beignets from Cafe Du Monde to help you recover from a night of drinking more than one hand grenade or the pure joy and exhaustion from grooving to the tunes of artists like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Trey Songz, Nas, Prince, Charlie Wilson, Lionel Richie or just a local jazz band, Nawlins was absolute adult playground this past weekend. It was crowded; it was hectic, yet it was amazing to see that many people having the time of their lives.

The 20th annual Essence Festival attracted a record-breaking 550,000 attendees from around the world to New Orleans this Fourth of July weekend, earning the distinction of being the largest gathering in the event’s history.

Touted as one of the country’s biggest live events, the Essence Festival celebrated its 20thanniversary July 3-6 with 20 stages of programming. The annual 4-day event features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world’s best performers each night.  More than 80 performing artists–including some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as Prince, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie–performed at the event’s nighttime concerts and over 150 speakers–including Robin RobertsAlicia KeysSteve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton—participated as part of the Festival’s daytime experience.

“Through a unique combination of entertainment and empowerment programming, the Essence Festival has become the place where we come together to revel in culture and connect to our community,” said Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks. “In recognition of our 20 year milestone, we are tremendously proud to have offered more curated content than ever before—live in New Orleans for our more than 550,000 festival-goers and available digitally on multiple screens for our Essence community of 11.5 million.”

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