Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after two-year hiatus
NEW ORLEANS (AP):
Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the 4th of July holiday weekend in New Orleans as thousands converge on the city for the in-person return of the Essence Festival of Culture.
The multi-day event begins with a Thursday performance by comedian Kevin Hart in the Smoothie King Center, followed by ticketed concerts at the Louisiana Superdome Friday through Sunday. First-time headliner, rapper Nicki Minaj, performs Friday along with another first-timer, country singer Mickey Guyton. Music icon Janet Jackson, who took the stage in 2010 and 2018, is the featured artiste on Saturday and fan favourite, ‘80s R&B group New Edition, will close the event on Sunday. Other artistes scheduled to perform include Jazmine Sullivan, City Girls, Summer Walker, The Roots, The Isley Brothers, Method Man, Tems, Patti LaBelle and Stephanie Mills.
In addition, free experiences are being offered inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, including a tech summit, an opportunity for men called ‘In His Zone’, a marketplace highlighting local vendors, a food and wine experience, a beauty carnival, and the ever-popular gospel celebration.
Organisers encourage all participants – whether in-person or virtual – to download the festival’s app and register through EssenceFestival.com. In addition, in-person participants are required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination even though that requirement was dropped in March by the city since the pandemic had eased.
Festival organisers have said “vaccination is for everyone’s protection” and proof of such is needed for admission.
The festival, much like others the city is known for, has been on an in-person hiatus since 2020 because of the virus outbreak but was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. Before that, it had been held in New Orleans every year except in 2006 when it moved to Houston while the Superdome was being repaired following Hurricane Katrina.
This year’s theme is ‘It’s The Black Joy For Me’ and the 2022 festival will be the brand’s first to offer a live component and the option to connect virtually.