Festival attendees streamed into the SuperDome early so that they could catch the younger Knowles sister, who would be going on stage at 7:30 pm. Still, quite a few people were noted as saying they were strictly there to see Xscape, who hosted their set upstairs in the SuperLounges along with Chloe X Halle, BJ the Chicago Kid and Shaggy. There was a full list of artists and musicians to help send Essence Fest off in the best way until next summer.
Some moments were incredibly powerful, while others left showgoers confused and outright angry. Check the highlights from EMF’s final night below.
Solange Finds a Fan to Sing With
Solange’s set was infused with funk and soul inspiration. Her band and backup singers all wore similiar outfits — ivory mock turtlenecks and light-colored pants that seemed to radiate in shades of orange-red because of the amber lighting. She had a full band , including a guy with a keytar, lending to the retro feel of her performance. Two of the horn players started “F.U.B.U.,” and the Head of the Table creator hopped offstage with security close behind. She headed up one aisle on the floor, then curved when it looked like she found what she came off stage for. The songstress cut a corner and turned down a row. She scooted to the middle of that row’s seating and she continued her entire second verse with a fan that was only too excited to sing along. The two made it to the hook, then Solange gave the fan a tight hug — as if they were family — and ran back onstage.
Xscape Shuts a Floor Down
“I been out here for 30 minutes, man!” one festival attendee complained to no one in particular, about 600 feet away from the Essence SuperLounge which was to host Xscape in under an hour. Typically, the SuperLounges are for those artists that are on the festival roster but may not have enough of a following to hold down the main stage. Xscape should not have been upstairs — at least, that’s what the people in line were saying. And it was a very long line. “Maybe they’ll stream it downstairs? You think they will?” another woman asked anyone standing within earshot.
The line had begun to form early, and the newly reunited group wasn’t scheduled to perform until 9 pm. By 8:15, the line was a few hundred feet long. A half-hour later, the line was more than a couple thousand feet long, and people were still coming upstairs for the R&B group and several other SuperLounge acts. So the third floor was subsequently shut down, for safety precautions. But unless they were in line at 8, many fans were disappointed because they ended up missing the Xscape reunion at Essence.
Master P Shows His Roots
After more than two decades in the music industry, It’s inevitable that one may grow slightly jaded, but it’s different when you return home. Master P was ready for his city, marching jubilantly through the aisles on the floor with a second line band — strictly New Orleans culture. He stopped center stage and announced that he would have a few surprises for everyone in attendance Sunday night.
His catalogue alone conjured up some nostalgic vibes for many in attendance, but the execution wasn’t as solid, apparently. “Whodi” and “Ice Cream Man” moved grown women to scream and grab each other’s hands, running to their seats — but then there were some who felt that P relied too heavily on the fact that he was at home. “I mean, we happy to see him, but did he practice?” one man snarkily commented. “He ain’t do a soundcheck,” his companion replied. “and if he ain’t bring Snoop Dogg out to save the day, I don’t know what would have happened for real.”