Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child and Kanye West are part of the all-star lineup confirmed to play the 2005 Essence Music Festival. Kicking off a yearlong 35th anniversary celebration of Essence magazine, the annual event returns to New Orleans July 1-3 with ticketed nightly concerts at the Louisiana Superdome and free daytime seminars at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Franklin will headline the opening night’s main stage performance, with Keys, John Legend and Ruben Studdard set to join. Destiny’s Child will anchor the July 2 bill with West, Teena Marie and Fantasia also on board, while Frankie Beverly and Maze will close out the final night with Lionel Richie, Kem and actress/comedian Mo’Nique.
Beyond the main stage, each night will also feature “superlounges” with such performers as the Roots, Floetry, Terrence Blanchard, Slick Rick, Talib Kweli, Doug E. Fresh, Jeffrey Osborne, the Wailers, Vivien Green and Me’Shell Ndegeocello, among others.
Tickets priced from $35-$75 are on sale via Ticketmaster. Information about hotel and travel packages is available on the festival’s Web site.