20th Anniversary of Essence Festival set to break attendance record

The Essence Festival will take place in New Orleans July 3-6, and this year’s festival is expected to be bigger than ever.

The Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary on the heels of the largest and most successful Festival ever in 2013 — which hosted 543,000 attendees and brought in $231 million in revenue for the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana.

According to Essence, this year’s festival is “set to surpass last year’s record-breaking attendance.”

The 4-day event features entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and the world’s best performers each night.

There are 80 artists performing on 11 stages, including Grammy and Oscar winner Prince, who’s headlining the festival along with Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lionel Richie, Nas and The Roots, among many others.

The Essence Festival is now the largest live event in the U.S., with attendance 6 times that of Coachella and 7 times that of SXSW.

Over 120 speakers, including Steve Harvey, Alicia Keys, Cynthia Bailey, Nia Long, Sherri Shepherd and more will participate across the 4 Empowerment Stages as part of the Festival’s daytime experience — attracting more than 120,000 attendees per day. The revamped ESSENCE Empowerment Experience represents the place where content from ESSENCE magazine comes to life and where the leaders and personalities you read about in the magazine share their journeys and engage with the audience in a live forum.

theGrio’s parent company MSNBC will be on hand at the Essence Festival allowing attendees to join the Growing Hope conversation by sharing your hopes regarding the issues that matter to you — the same issues MSNBC discusses on air every day.

MSNBC is inviting Essence Festival attendees to come to the Convention Center from Friday, July 4, to Sunday, July 6, to meet MSNBC hosts, including Rev. Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris-Perry, Joy Reid and Tamron Hall.

MSNBC will be located in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon @WitherspoonC