Party with a Purpose in the Big Easy: Essence Music Festival 2015

Frankie Beverly & Maze

Frankie Beverly & Maze

Get ready for the best in R&B, hip-hop, jazz, blues, and more, as New Orleans once again hosts the Essence Music Festival, the nation’s premier showcase for contemporary African American music and culture. Since the early 1990s Essence Magazine, the distinguished lifestyle magazine for African American women, has chosen New Orleans for its annual event, which brings in the best performers and entertainers in the country, as well as holding a series of seminars created to empower African American men and women.

The Essence Music Festival, known as “the party with a purpose”, started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, and has grown into the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States. This year’s long holiday weekend event will rock with more DJ’s, artists, performers, and comedy than ever before to perform across 5 different stages from Thursday, July 2 through Sunday, July 5.

The Empowerment Experience brings some of the most knowledgeable experts to share their ideas and tips to pursue your personal success, including Reverend Al Sharpton, Soledad O’Brien, Steve Harvey, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Lynn Whitfield & Grace Gibson, Donna Brazile, Sybrina Fulton, Ed Gordon , Claudia Jordan, Cynthia Bailey, Shaun T, Noelle Robinson, The Walls Group, Kim Burrell, Anita Wilson, and Nashvillians Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, among others.Music at the Festival is performed in two locations, the Main Stage in the Superdome itself and four smaller, more intimate “SuperLounges” in separate areas of the Dome. With your concert ticket, you gain entry into the Louisiana Superdome, and have a designated seat for Main Stage performances. In the Superdome, you can experience performances in the Superlounges on the Lounge level for no additional fee. Here are this year’s headliners: Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Common, Missy Elliott, India.Arie, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Erykah Badu, Doug E. Fresh, Leon Bridges, Bilal, Kelly Price, Charlie Wilson, Floetry, Kem, Kevin Hart, Trey Songz, and of course, Frankie Beverly & Maze.

The Festival lets African American artists, writers, craftsmen, culinary artists, businesspeople and others show off their talents and sell their work. Vendors will display in different locations around the Superdome and park areas temporarily turned into outdoor markets. Expect to see a variety of quality fine art and crafts from clothing and jewelry, to collectable paintings and sculpture. Art displays and demonstrations represent the rich culture from all over the African Diaspora.

DJ Day Parties run Thursday- Sunday from 1 pm- 5 pm with celebrity DJs like Funkmaster Flex, Spinderella, Biz Markie, and DJ Drama, as well as special festival guests, cocktails, and energetic crowds.

The Festival Day of Service the first day of the Festival gives back and commemorates the resilience of New Orleans 10 years post Katrina, planting flowers, building play areas and helping to prep classrooms for the next school season, also including a book donation and Community Health and Resource Fair.

For more, go to the official website at