Nelly, P. Diddy, Maze, Nappy Roots, Smokey Robinson, Jaheim, and Anita Baker lead the lineup for the fifth edition of the Essence Music Festival, set for July 3-5 at the Superdome in New Orleans. The

Nelly, P. Diddy, Maze, Nappy Roots, Smokey Robinson, Jaheim, and Anita Baker lead the lineup for the fifth edition of the Essence Music Festival, set for July 3-5 at the Superdome in New Orleans. The five-stage affair will feature a different host each night, including Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes, A.J. Jamal, and Tom Joyner & the Crew. More artists are expected to be added to the bill.

Nelly and the St. Lunatics will headline July 3, with Keith Sweat, Dianne Reeves, and Third World also performing. P. Diddy leads the next night's performers, joined by New Edition, Faith Evans, Carl Thomas, and Loon. Biz Markie & Doug E. Fresh, Michael Franks, and the S.O.S. Band will also be featured on that bill. Maze and Frankie Beverly will headline July 5, with Will Downing, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers among the other artists appearing.

Last year, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, Angie Stone, and Luther Vandross, among others, performed at the festival. Attendance capped off at about 180,000, according to organizers.

As in past years, the festival will also feature free, daily empowerment seminars in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with a range of scholars and political, business, religious, and social leaders. The Essence Marketplace will boast New Orleans cuisine, arts and crafts, a boutique, and an area for celebrity meet-and-greets. Tickets are priced $35-$125 and are on sale now via Ticketmaster.