Notes From New Orleans: Essence Music Festival Ready to Revitalize the Big Easy, Again

The 16th annual Essence Music Festival is in full swing.

Essence! Pictures, Images and Photos

On July 1, Essence Communications, Inc. President Michelle Ebanks joined New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and festival sponsors like Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Tide, Coors and Wal-Mart to announce some of this year's festival highlights.

The press conference, held at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in Louis Armstrong Park, gave an insider's perspective on all of the good that the largest gathering of African Americans in the country brings to the Big Easy, especially in light of the continuous rebuilding efforts since Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005.

"It is has grown to be the largest R&B and pop music festival in the country," Ebanks told BV Newswire.

"Last year was our 15th anniversary and over 400,000 people attended the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, and we were equally very excited that our attendees spent $190 million over the four-day weekend. That's a huge boost to the economy and the city of New Orleans, and we are are very proud of that contribution to the city."As previously reported, Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige are a few of the headlining acts taking over the Superdome this Fourth of July weekend. But during the day, the Essence Empowerment Seminars are designed to get the people of New Orleans out and about and educated for free.
Rihanna Essence Music Festival Pictures, Images and Photos

"The festival is multifaceted and truly a cultural celebration unlike any other in the United States," Ebanks continued. "During the day, we take over 500,000 square feet and that's where we bring in our national leaders, our ministers, our celebrities and authors to come in and have thought-provoking and inspiring conversations. We have a day committed to love and relationships with Steve Harvey. Saturday is our first-ever education summit featuring Dr. Bill Cosby, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Steven Perry, and Sunday is an all-star gospel celebration honoring Kirk Franklin. And it is all free and open to the public."

With that type of lineup, this year is sure to to be another record-breaking year
for Essence.

Stay abreast of all the Essence Music Festival happenings on Black Voices
By Bridget Bland

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