With Rain Forest producer, Will Packer tweeting messages that his entire flight to New Orleans was full of Black people and that it felt like Soul Plane, you truly know that the Essence Festival has kicked off.
Now in its 19th year, the ESSENCE Festival is the nation’s definitive African-American live music and cultural experience. The ultimate destination for entertainment and inspiration hosted over 400,000 attendees last year.
The Festival has expanded its reach and programming by adding a fourth day””and more free entertainment””to the traditionally held three-day event. On Thursday, July 4, it held its first-ever, free and open-to-the-public, “Family Reunion Day.” Festival attendees experienced an uplifting and joyous day of empowerment panels, family-friendly games and activities, delicious food from New Orleans‘s best barbecue vendors, cooking competitions, fireworks and exciting musical guests; all designed to strengthen the entire family in soul, health and heart.
Powerfully, on this Sunday, July 7 th, the ESSENCE Festival will unite mothers and families in an effort to end violence and murder across America. At the close of the Festival, ESSENCE and Mayor Mitch Landrieu will host the moving and uplifting ‘Love, Loss and Life’, a special prayer vigil for mothers who have loved and lost at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience Stage.
**SOUND BITES: Various celebrity sound bites
The 2013 ESSENCE Festival’s amazing line-up:
Friday, July 5 th: Mainstage: Maxwell, Jill Scott, LL Cool J and Brandy. Superlounges: Blackstreet, Anthony David, Les Nubians, Emeli Sande, Maya Azucena, Simphiwe Dana, Mali Music and Shamarr Allen and The Underdawgs.
Saturday, July 6 th: Mainstage: New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Trey Songz, Keyshia Cole and Solange. Superlounges: Faith Evans, Bridget Kelly, Big Daddy Kane, F.Stokes, PJ Morton, Jody Watley, Leela James and Avery*Sunshine.
Sunday, July 7 th: Mainstage: Beyonce, Janelle Monae and TGT (Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank). Superlounges: Rachelle Ferrell, Mia Borders, Mint Condition, Luke James, Tamia, Kourtney Heart and Alice Smith.
Some of this year’s Essence Empowerment Experience (EEE) stage participants over the weekend will include: Steve Harvey, who will host a live edition of his top-rated game show “Family Feud”; keynote conversations from Rev. Al Sharpton , Iyanla Vanzant, Marc Morial and Lisa Nichols ; an historic commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1963″”the turning point in the Civil Rights Movement””with Rep. John Lewis , Myrlie Evers-Williams , Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton and others; and an All-Star Gospel Tribute to Tramaine Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin with Yolanda Adams and Bishop Noel Jones and many more.