About Essence Festival

The annual ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, presented by Coca-Cola, is one of the nation’s largest live events. Each year, the Festival draws nearly 500,000 attendees who gather for three days of music, entertainment, empowerment and culture.

Now in its 24th year, the ESSENCE Festival has featured some of the biggest names in entertainment and the nation’s most influential speakers, authors and leaders, including Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Prince, Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Steve Harvey, Ava DuVernay, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Magic Johnson, Iyanla Vanzant and many more.

Frequently Asked Questions


With your concert ticket, you gain entry into the Louisiana Superdome. You will have a designated seat to experience the Main Stage performances. Once you are in the Superdome, you can experience all the performances that night in the Superlounges on the Lounge level for no additional fee or ticket. Everyone MUST have a ticket to get into the Superdome.

Our Festival VIP package gets you the best seats in the Superdome, exclusive access and much more. Find the full package benefits include: Front, center-stage seating at the Superdome VIP All Access passes backstage at the Superdome, with complimentary cocktails and food Exclusive ESSENCE Festival invitations to official weekend events (additional purchase may be required) VIP seating at the ESSENCE® Empowerment Experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Limited edition 2018 ESSENCE Festival welcome tote bag Limited edition commemorative Festival T-shirt Complementary one-year subscription to ESSENCE® Magazine Plus much more!
Single night tickets will be on sale in the weeks leading up to the Festival. We suggest you buy a weekend ticket package as those discounted prices are available for a limited time. Get tickets here. Sign up for our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to get the latest on our lineup.


The 2018 ESSENCE Festival starts on Thursday, July 5th and officially ends the late evening of Sunday, July 8th. If you're traveling into New Orleans, we recommend you come into the city on Wednesday, July 4th.
The Festival is located in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome with other locations to be announced. Get more info here.

Yes and parking is available at the Convention Center and Superdome (based on availability and subject to fees). Note that all parking garages accept cash only.

Airline package are not available through the Festival at this time. Please reach out to your select travel agent to make your flight reservations.
Find our list of preferred hotels and book your rooms here.


Our FREE activities during the day take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This includes our ESSENCE® Empowerment Experience, Empower U, The Shops at ESSENCE (including ESSENCE Eats, our Art & Marketplace, the Community Corner and Screening Room) and much of our sponsor activities. Our evening concerts take place at the Louisiana Superdome. Any other event locations will be confirmed.
You can get directions here.
The following items are prohibited: animals (with the exception of service dogs), backpacks/knapsacks, banners, containers of any kind, contraband, glass, laser pointers, noise makers, projectiles, sticks, bats, poles or clubs; video and audio recording devices with lenses that are longer than six (6) inches); weapons of any kind and other items deemed inappropriate by SMG/Landmark.
Yes, all large bags will be thoroughly checked upon entry to all venues, including the Superdome, Convention Center and any other locations of our official weekend events.