Essence Festival

Music
8:00 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Jill Scott, Maxwell Return to Re-Branded Essence

The Essence Music Festival is dropping the music — from its name, that is.

The festival held in New Orleans every July 4th weekend for the past 18 years has rebranded itself The Essence Festival. Organizers say the change is designed to showcase the event as more than a music festival.

Still, music will remain a focus for the 19th annual festival, which is July 4-7.

The lineup includes more than 30 acts — a number of them Essence veterans. On the roster are Jill Scott, Maxwell, New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, LL Cool J and Brandy.

Essence Fest
12:24 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

2012 Essence Fest draws 413,000 to New Orleans

The 2012 Essence Music Festival drew 413,000 people to New Orleans for the four-day event held over the Fourth of July weekend.

That's less than the 422,000 who gathered for the 2011 festival. Last year the festival ran for three days.

This was the 18th anniversary of the festival which features nightly concerts at the Superdome and free, daily "empowerment" seminars and community events at the city's convention center.

The Record
4:03 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Essence In New Orleans: A Festival That Knows Its Audience

Mary J. Blige performs during the 2012 Essence Music Festival at Louisiana Superdome on July 7.
Erika Goldring Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 1:23 pm

For the last 18 years, the Essence Music Festival has been the go-to event for African-Americans, especially African-American women. For three days in New Orleans, hundreds of thousands show up for R&B and gospel concerts and panels on politics, financial planning and parenting.

If it's a party, as creator George Wein describes it, it's a party with a purpose.

"New Orleans is a party city and they party," Wein says. "People party here. If you go to the hotels — 40-floor hotels — [there's] like 40 floors of parties."

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Essence Fest
1:49 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Alex Boyd brings 'blue-eyed' soul to Essence

He has danced with Debbie Allen, acted alongside Bruce Willis, blended his voice with Patti Labelle's and even dabbled with opera.

But Alex Boyd's true calling has always been classic, old-school soul — despite being one of only a handful of white performers in the genre.

Boyd says he was "over the moon" about his closing night debut performance on Sunday at the Essence Music Festival.

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