ESSENCE Festival 2018: What's New This Year At The Country's Biggest Celebration Of Black Women And Black Culture

Paras Griffin / Contributor

Rachaell Davis Mar, 14, 2018

In case you haven’t already heard, ESSENCE Fest is back and better than ever!

ESSENCE Festival 2018 tickets are on sale now! For more info and the latest news, visit our Festival page HERE.

From the free daytime activities at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, to our ticketed nightly concert experiences featuring over 40 of the biggest names in music at the Superdome, we’ve got plenty in store to make sure you and your squad leave the NOLA with memories that will last a lifetime.

Scroll through for a look at what’s new and then be sure to grab your tickets to join us for the 2018 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans this July.


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In addition to our very own ESSENCE "Yes, Girl!" podcast making their ESSENCE Fest debut, we're also excited to welcome The Read podcast to the Festival for the very first time.

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The only thing better than seeing your favorite artist perform at ESSENCE Festival is seeing A GROUP of your favorite artists team up for the ultimate set. This year's Superdome will play host to several artist curations, including: The Roots with Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and special guests; Teddy Riley with Blackstreet, SWV, Guy, Wreckx n Effect, Dave Hollister and special guests; Kelly Price's For the Love of R&B with Keke Wyatt and Vaughn Willis; Marsha Ambrosius with Major and Kevin Ross; and Doug E. Fresh's "Legends of Hip-Hop" with Yoyo, Kool Moe Dee, Lady of Rage, Whodini, Dres and more.

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This year we're excited to introduce our ESSENCE Fest Beauty Bungalow! An exclusive extension of our Beauty & Style stage, the Beauty Bungalow is your ticket to the ultimate VIP experience. Enjoy 3-day access to a private VIP lounge featuring a full bar of lite bite and sips and exclusive celebrity meets & greets, plus, receive a hair consultation with the latest haircare technology from Myavana® and more!

Click HERE to grab your early bird Beauty Bungalow ticket and learn more.

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Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The EEE Gospel Tribute is an ESSENCE Festival highlight for attendees every year! This year, we're celebrating the 10th anniversary of the tribute by honoring gospel legend, Dottie Peoples. Get ready for an all-star lineup of performances from Smokie Norful, Marvin Sapp, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Johnny Gill, George Potts Young & the Church Friends Band, Regina Belle, Lexi, Tyronne G. Foster and the Arc Singers and more.

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From a DJ set by Idris Elba, to unforgettable performances from Ella Mai, Miguel, Daniel Caesar, Jussie Smollett, H.E.R., Kelela and many more, you won't be disappointed with all the new faces making their ESSENCE Festival debut this year.

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This year, we're taking things up a notch to make the 2018 ESSENCE Festival all about you and your squad! Each week leading up to the Festival, we're searching the #EFSquadGoals hashtag on all social media platforms to highlight some of the best ESSENCE Fest travel squads. Share a picture of the friends you're traveling to the Festival with using the hashtag for a chance to be featured on the site!

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From the Convention Center during the daytime, to the Superdome concerts at night, you never know who will show up on stage at ESSENCE Fest! This year, we're keeping the surprises coming.

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Every year, our goal is to make the ESSENCE Fest marketplace in the Convention Center a place where consumers can connect with a wide variety of Black-owned businesses and local New Orleans businesses, and this year is no exception.

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You can expect to see a fresh new look and updates some of your favorite stages and booths set up across the Convention Center floor.

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In addition to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah's Roy Wood Jr. returning as host of this year's Festival for the second year in a row, Doug E. Fresh will also kick off the mainstage each night, while DJ D-Nice will hold down the turntables.

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This year, we're incorporating our enriching Path To Power conversations across our ESSENCE Empowerment stage, where you'll have the opportunity to hear from successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and more of the brightest minds from some of the biggest brands in the world.