The 17th-annual Essence, sponsored by Essence Communications, the company behind Essence magazine, is scheduled for the Louisiana Superdome July 1-3. The festival announced many of its headliners, including Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Jill Scott and Kanye West, in February when it began selling its Platinum VIP Festival Weekend package.
The festival also hosts several empowerment seminars for discussion of minority issues. This year’s speaker list includes CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, comedian/actor/author Steve Harvey, CeCe Winans and Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne.
In addition to announcing that Khan and Hudson will play Essence, organizers also said this year’s festival will include a New Edition reunion. Other artists now on the bill include Kem, Marsha Ambrosius, Hal Linton, Eric Benet, Doug E. Fresh, Naughty By Nature, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Mavis Staples, Miguel and Trin-i-tee 5:7.
“We are celebrating the roots of R&B this Fourth of July weekend,” Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks said. “From the powerhouse performances on the main stag to the more intimate jam sessions in the Superlounges, the Essence Music festival offers blues, funk, classics, neo-soul that our audience craves to renew their spirit and connect to their joy.”
At this time Essence is offering basic three-day passes based on seat location and ranging from $135 for terrace to floor tickets priced anywhere from $350 to 650. Other ticket options include the Gold Plus Weekend Package with center-stage floor seats and the Platinum VIP Festival Weekend package which includes an all-access pass to the Platinum VIP Lounge next to the main stage and VIP seating at the empowerment seminars. For more information, visit the Essence Music Festival’s website.