If anyone invites you to Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, don’t even hesitate to think about it… just go! New Orleans is already filled with high spirits and dancing lights but during Essence weekend, we also celebrate African-American culture through art, community education and music, that’s the recipe for an undeniable good time. Every year the three day event draws hundreds of thousands of people, brands, celebrities and influencers to New Orleans and this was my very first time at Essence. In my short stay, I was able to see public figures like Rev. Al Sharpton, Tamar Braxton, Marsai Martin, and one of my favorite influencers, @ColorMeCourtney .
I was honored to be invited by Disney for breakfast and to take part in the media preview of their annual Disney X Essence event. You guys know, when Disney calls, you answer! We heard about the new movies coming soon, such as the new Maleficent movie with Angelina Jolie, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, Frozen 2 and my personal favorite, the release of new Black Panther merchandise from Marvel.
Last minute tips for Essence Fest
I decided I was going to Essence two days before the event. This was literally a trip I decided to “figure it out when I get there”, which is so unlike me; I love to plan! The Essence app was so helpful in figuring out an itinerary. There is so much to see and do at Essence.
Keep in mind there are several events that occur inside and outside of the convention center simultaneously. To avoid being overwhelmed after the Disney breakfast I chose to stick around the convention center for a majority of the day. We had a chance to enjoy essence eats, the health hub, the market floor but did not get to experience the beauty carnival. Just a warning: the beauty carnival is in high demand and might take some strategy and patience to get into if you do not purchase a pass. Next time, I’ll be sure to at least purchase a General Admission Plus pass. Hopefully in the coming year I will be able to explore and cover the beauty carnival for you.
The marketplace was a must for black owned business to reach their audience directly. I made sure to spend a good amount of money in the MarketPlace while taking note of the brands that showed up to Essence. As one of the largest African-American driven events, it’s important to take note on who invests their time and resources in reaching the black community.
After having a good time with the convention center experiences, I headed down to Bourbon Street to continue my New Orleans experience. This year I took advantage of authentic New Orleans dishes with chargrilled oysters and Gumbo at Felix’s. Then the classic beignet at Cafe Du Monde.
Thanks to a friend, I was able to catch The Read LIVE with Kid Fury and Crissle before ending the night with an all female comedy show featuring Kim Fields, Jess Hilarious and More.
Is Essense Family Friendly?
It can be to a certain extent. Later in the day there may be performances that may contain explicit lyrics and suggestive dancing as seen here
Is Essence expensive?
Several events are free, especially General admission in the convention center. But I would recommend VIP passes in the convention center and you must purchase tickets for concerts and other shows outside of that. But well worth it in my opinion! (Prices weren’t outrageous)
Do I need to rent a car?
New Orleans is a very walkable city but I have to admit I did hop in the car to get around most of the time.
With only 24 hours at Essence Fest in New Orleans, I can say I had THE best time!!
Have you been to Essence Fest before? What’s stopping you from going? Meet me there next year!