The Essence Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola is back. The two weekend-long event kicks off in New Orleans from June 25 to 27, with continued festivities the following weekend, July 2 to 4, and is open in person exclusively to Louisiana residents. For all non-Louisiana residents hoping to join the fun, the festival will be available for streaming at EssenceStudios.com and Essence.com.
On Tuesday (June 1), the star-studded list of performers was announced. Jazmine Sullivan, DJ Khaled, Ne-Yo, Davido, Tank, Michelle Williams, Kirk Franklin and D-Nice are among those slated to hit the stage. Attendees can also expect special guest appearances from Mary J. Blige, Angela Yee, Adrienne Bailon, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Tracy G, Tiana Major9, Big Freedia, Miss Lawrence, Supacent and many more.
The 2021 Essence Festival of Culture will include virtual experiences for the second consecutive year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To help prevent the spread of the virus, in-person activations — set to honor essential workers and first responders who remain on the frontlines amid the ongoing health crisis — will be accessible only to Louisiana residents.
Latraviette Smith-Wilson, Essence chief strategy and engagement officer, said in a statement, “The Essence Festival of Culture, now the largest festival in the nation by per day attendance, is an unparalleled convening and celebration of global Black culture and continues to have even deeper impact on our communities via our expanded focus on economic inclusion, cultural ownership and community development.”
“As a live experience, the Essence Festival normally attracts more than 500,000 attendees annually during July 4th weekend in New Orleans, but last year, we made the necessary decision to shift our multi-day celebration to an innovative virtual format due to COVID-19,” she continued. “The ESSENCE Festival was the first of its kind and scale to be executed virtually during the pandemic and our team worked tirelessly to deliver the content, programming and resources that our community desired.”