By: Alex Templer: MSTv Correspondant
Despite Mardi Gras just beginning, its never too late to plan for the future. And in the light of the sweltering heat of New Orleans' summer's, the major cool highlight has to be the Essence Festival.
Running from July 4th to the 7th and boasting an impressive line-up, the 2013 Essence Festival will spotlight such heavyweights as Jill Scott, Maxwell, New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, LL Cool J and Brandy on the Superdome main stage. Hitting the secondary lounge stages will be artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Jody Watley and Mint Condition; with locals Mia Borders and Kourtney Heart thrown in for a "home-style" feel.
The former, "Essence Music Festival"is now officially called just the Essence Festival. The name change was made to help the event better reflect its multi-diverse cultural offerings.
The event will also include free empowerment seminars at the Convention Center. Guest speakers will include Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. John Lewis; to include a gospel tribute to pastor Donnie McClurkin and Tramaine Hawkins.
“The decision to rebrand the Essence Festival was a natural progression for this one-of-a-kind event, which has become a July 4th weekend tradition over the past 19 years,” said Essence Communications president Michelle Ebanks in a statement. “The Essence Festival combines music, entertainment, culture, community, empowerment and inspiration to create a completely transformative experience across four full days that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. We feature the world’s top performers each night across eight live music and cultural stages and we bring the ‘page to the stage’ by bringing Essence magazine to life at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center during the day.”
Marking 2013 as its 19th year in the Superdome, the Essence Festival began as an outcropping of Essence Magazine’s 25th anniversary. Except for 2006, every Essence Fest has been staged in New Orleans.
Tickets for the 2013 Essence Festival are on sale now through Ticketmaster.