You've heard the stories. You've probably seen the pictures. And now you're finally ready to attend Essence Fest and experience the hype for yourself. Those who have gone before you will try to give you first-timers an idea of what to expect. But take it from me, a man who has been to four of them, you're not ready. There's too much of everything you love in one place; it's sensory overload. The best you can do is survive, so think of this list as a survival guide for all the dancing, eating, and drinking you will do. How you handle each of these situations is completely up to you. Like the old saying goes, if you stay ready, you don't have to get ready.
You’ll feel right at home.
Essence Fest is like a family reunion, only people like Prince, Mary J. Blige and Lionel Richie are invited too. Even if you’re visiting New Orleans and Essence Fest for the first time, it will look as familiar to you as your own city. Strangers will greet you like they’re members of your family. If you’re cutting up too much, someone is going to calm you down to remind you where all here to have a good time. If you’re being a wallflower, and merely doing shoulder shrugs in your chair, someone is going to look at you like you need to use the feet God gave you and get on the dance floor.