Alicia Keys will join spokesperson Mary J. Blige as a headliner of the 16th annual Essence Music Festival, to be held July 2-4, in New Orleans. LL Cool J, Estelle, and Trey Songz are among the other additions to the previously announced lineup featuring Gladys Knight, Earth, Wind & Fire, De La Soul, Keri Hilson, Jill Scott, Melanie Fiona and Raphael Saadiq.
The 2010 edition will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Essence Magazine, as well as mark Keys’ third appearance at the festival; the singer last performed there in 2005. Additionally, the festival will honor the local music of New Orleans this year, with special performances by: Arrested Development, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, DJ Soul Sister, Hot 8 Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Irvin Mayfield and NOJO, Ivan Neville‘s Dumpstaphunk, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Lalah Hathaway, Leo Jackson and the Melody Clouds, Little Freddie King, Mary Mary, Mint Condition, Monica, Rebirth Brass Band, Sam & Ruby, Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, Soul Rebels Brass Band and WAR.
The presenting sponsor for the 2010 Essence Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Other 2010 sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen, Ford, McDonald’s, Olay, Pantene, U.S. Army and My Black is Beautiful. Weekend packages for the event are now available at www.essencemusicfestival.com.