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ESSENCE Festival Returning Next Year Both In-Person & Virtually

Blogged by @cakedupdrippedout

Essence has announced the long-awaited complete return of its ESSENCE Festival of Culture.

The wildly popular ESSENCE Fest, marked by star-studded performances, panels, nightlife events, and exhibitions of the latest in beauty and fashion innovations, will occur in New Orleans from June 30 – July 3, 2022. To fans delight, the wide range of events is returning to in-person operations after being stifled by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic,

As with most events globally, ESSENCE Fest 2020 and 2021 were forced to provide a fully virtual experience of performances and panels. Gospel star Kirk Franklin and Grammy-nominated singer Jazmine Sullivan were among the 2021 virtual series lineup. Last year, during the early and most worrisome days of the pandemic, some of music’s biggest acts, including Doug E. Fresh and Patti LaBelle, delivered joy straight to people’s living rooms by performing on the ESSENCE stage without a live audience but with all of the marvels as their traditional gigs.

As the ESSENCE Festival transitions back to live festivities, they are not completely abandoning the online streaming component that proved to be a wildly successful solution during quarantine measures. Seeing a 65% increase in content streams from 2020 to 2021, next year’s festival will continue its strong digital push, allowing ESSENCE lovers to experience the days-long celebration without traveling to New Orleans. 

Essence Communications, Inc. CEO Caroline Wanga has referred to the reimagined version of the festival as a “phygital” experience, combining digital and physical experiences.

Since its launch in 1995, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture has ballooned to the nation’s biggest festival, attracting more than 530,000 attendees annually. Though there is always an array of activities to get into during the July 4 weekend celebration, the most popular have always been the concerts. The ESSENCE Festival Main Stage has been headlined by Black icons such as Destiny’s Child, Kanye West, Rihanna, Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight, Prince, Aaliyah, and Gerald Levert. Aside from the Main Stage, the Superlounge performances offer a more relaxed setting where up-and-coming acts make their ESSENCE debut. SZA and Sevyn Streeter have both rocked the Superlounge during the early days of their careers. 

Those considering heading to New Orleans for next year’s festival should remember that COVID-19 protocols will be in place to ensure public safety, though the exact rules have not yet been announced. However, do not be surprised if a requirement of all attendees is to be vaccinated, which has become the standard for many music festivals resuming in-person shows. 

For those looking to enjoy the festival but also participate as an entertainer, vendor or panelist, fill out the form at www.essence.com/essence-festival-2022/. Aside from the unforgettable fun, the festival serves as an excellent way for business owners, indie artists, and aspiring media personalities to gain exposure.

Whether you are looking to network, have a good time, or both, the ESSENCE Festival has everything you’ll need and more. Be sure to follow @essencefest on Instagram for the latest updates.

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