FAQ

GENERAL INFORMATION



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WHAT IS THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE?

The biggest names in music, fashion, film, television, politics, beauty and more gather to join us as we celebrate 50 years of moving the culture forward at the 2020 Essence Festival®.

WHEN IS THE 2020 ESSENCE FESTIVAL® OF CULTURE?

Thursday, July 1 – 5

WHERE IS THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL® OF CULTURE LOCATED?

Daytime programming will take place mainly at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Location updates for our daytime off campus experiences are coming soon!

ENTERTAINMENT ALL ACCESS FEATURING THE SCREENING ROOM AND CENTER STAGE, THE POWER STAGE, HEALTH HUB, PATH TO POWER, ESSENCE BEAUTY CARNIVAL™, ESSENCE® MARKETPLACE, ESSENCE EATS™

ERNEST N. MORIAL CONVENTION CENTER 900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA, 70130

GLOBAL BLACK ECONOMIC FORUM, E SUITE, FASHION HOUSE, WELLNESS HOUSE, FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE Locations coming soon!

Evening concerts will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the exception of Essence After Dark performances.

EVENING CONCERTS MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME 1500 Sugar Bowl Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112

ARE THERE ANY AGE RESTRICTIONS?

Individuals of all ages are invited to attend the Essence Festival®. Programs that require attendees to be 18+ years of age are the Global Black Economic Forum, E Suite, Wellness House and After Dark Series. Several Essence After Dark programs permit adults 21+ only.

WHAT TIME DOES THE FESTIVAL START?

ERNEST N. MORIAL CONVENTION CENTER – 9am

Mercedes-Benz Superdome Nightly Concerts: Opening daily at 6:00 p.m., the all-star Essence Fest line-up commences with some of the best in R&B, hip-hop, funk, gospel and soul.

Please refer to the Essence Festival® App schedule for additional updates. >

WHAT TIME DOES THE FESTIVAL END?

The Evening Concerts end at 11pm on Sunday, July 5th

Please refer to the Essence Festival® App schedule for additional updates.

IS THERE AN ESSENCE FEST APP?

Drugs & Alcohol

Yes! Download the 2020 Essence Festival® App before you arrive to plan your weekend seamlessly.

IS THERE AN ESSENCE FEST APP?

Yes! Download the 2020 Essence Festival® App before you arrive to plan your weekend seamlessly.

WILL YOU BE POSTING SET TIMES IN ADVANCE?

Yes. Set times will be posted on the Mobile App and website a couple of days before the Festival. Set times will also be in the Festival Guide, available at the evening conerts.

WHEN WILL THE PERFORMANCE SCHEDULES BE RELEASED?

Set times will be announced closer to the festival – stay tuned!

ADA INFORMATION:

IS THE FESTIVAL ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES?

Yes, Festival is ADA accessible. The ADA viewing area is in front of select stages. Accessible restrooms are in the same area as all patron restrooms.

WHERE IS ADA PARKING, PICK UP, AND DROP OFF?

Visit Essence Festival® venue websites for ADA instructions.

PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

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HOW CAN I BECOME AN ESSENCE FESTIVAL® OF CULTURE SPONSOR
For questions about becoming a sponsor, please email: [email protected]

 
I'M A MEMBER OF THE MEDIA? HOW DO I MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR A MEDIA PASS?

For Essence Festival® press and editorial inquiries, please email [email protected]

TICKETING + REGISTRATION:

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WHEN IS THE 2020 ESSENCE FESTIVAL® OF CULTURE

Wednesday, July 1st – Sunday, July 5th

HOW CAN I BUY TICKETS TO PAID EXPERIENCES?

Visit https://www.essence.com/festival/tickets/ online or access tickets via the Mobile App. Search our experiences and select the ticket of your choice. Ticket availability may be limited at the door.

IF I DON’T BUY A TICKET, ARE THERE EVENTS I CAN STILL ATTEND?

Absoutely! Friday through Sunday of the Festival experience will include day-long activities within the Convention Center that anyone can attend.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TICKETS IN ORDER TO ACCESS DAYTIME PROGRAMMING?

General admission into the Convention Center is free. The Convention Center is home to Entertainment All Access, The Power Stage, Essence Beauty Carnival™, Essence® Marketplace, and Essence Eats™.

Note: There is a paid and free ticket type available for the Essence Beauty Carnival™. Paid experiences that require a ticket purchase include: Wellness House, Fashion House, E Suite, Global Black Economic Forum, Food & Wine Festival and the After Dark Series.

HOW DO I REGISTER FOR THE FREE EVENTS?

Yes, you will be able to download the 2020 ESSENCE Festival® app to register for free experiences, RSVP for limited capacity events and screenings, and purchase tickets for paid programs. The app is not currently available for 2020. Follow @essencefest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter for updates on registration.

HOW CAN I STAY CURRENT WITH ANY CHANGES TO THE FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE?

Check our website, download the 2020 Essence Festival® App, sign up for our newsletter, and follow @essence on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates and changes.

WHAT ARE THE DATES OF THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE EVENING CONCERTS AT THE MERCEDEZ BENZ SUPER DOME?

Friday, July 3rd thru Sunday, July 5th

WHAT TYPES OF TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE EVENING CONCERTS AT THE MERCEDES BENZ SUPERDOME?

3-Day General Admission Ticket – Enjoy all three days of the Evening Concert series where you can check out both mainstage and superlounge performances.

Additional ticket options launching soon.

WHAT KIND OF ACCESS DO I GET WITH MY ESSENCE FESTIVAL® EVENING CONCERT SERIES TICKET?

You will gain entry into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a designated seat to view performances on the mainstage. Upon entry, you are free to view mainstage and super lounge performances. Tickets are required for Super Dome entry.

IF I BUY A TICKET TO ONE CONCERT, AM I ENTITLED TO ALL CONCERTS AND EVENTS?

A single ticket for each night grants you access to both the mainstage and all 4 superlounges in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

HOW MANY TICKETS CAN I BUY? IS THERE A LIMIT?

When purchasing tickets for the Esence Festival of Culture, you are limited to a specified number of tickets for each event (also known as a "ticket limit"). This ticket limit is posted during the purchase process and is verified with every transaction. This policy is in effect to discourage unfair ticket buying practice. Other restrictions may apply per event.

CAN I HOP BETWEEN FESTIVAL EVENTS OCCURING AT THE SAME TIME?

Yes. There are multiple events that take place throughout the Festival campus and you are welcome to attend as many as you like.

DO I HAVE TO PURCHASE CONCERT TICKETS FOR THE ENTIRE WEEKEND?

Nope! Weekend packages are currently available for purchase. Single night tickets will be available soon. Stay tuned for updates.

ARE TICKETS REFUNDABLE OR EXCHANGEABLE FOR NEW EVENTS HELD OUTSIDE THE MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME?

All purchased tickets are final sale and are not eligible for exchanges and refunds.

DOES MY TICKET OR REGISTRATION ALLOW FOR RE-ENTRY INTO THE FESTIVAL?

Tickets are required for entry. Pre-purchase of your ticket is highly suggested. All Festival venues have reentry policies. Check the venue policy prior to exiting the venue.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome: Once a ticket has been scanned for entry, exit and reentry is not allowed. Patrons with illegally duplicated tickets will not be allowed entry.

IF I AM LOCAL AND WANT TO BUY TICKETS TO THE CONCERTS, WHAT ARE THE BOX OFFICE LOCATION & HOURS OF OPERATION?

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has eight main box office windows located at Gate A Ground Level. The Smoothie King Center box office is open on non-event days Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. On event day the box office is open, 6PM - 11PM.

ARE TICKETS REFUNDABLE OR EXCHANGEABLE FOR NEW EVENTS HELD OUTSIDE THE MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME?

All purchased tickets are final sale and are not eligible for exchanges and refunds.

DOES MY TICKET OR REGISTRATION ALLOW FOR RE-ENTRY INTO THE FESTIVAL?

Tickets are required for entry. Pre-purchase of your ticket is highly suggested. All Festival venues have reentry policies. Check the venue policy prior to exiting the venue.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome: Once a ticket has been scanned for entry, exit and reentry is not allowed. Patrons with illegally duplicated tickets will not be allowed entry.

IF I AM LOCAL AND WANT TO BUY TICKETS TO THE CONCERTS, WHAT ARE THE BOX OFFICE LOCATION & HOURS OF OPERATION?

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has eight main box office windows located at Gate A Ground Level. The Smoothie King Center box office is open on non-event days Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM. On event day the box office is open, 6PM - 11PM.

TRAVEL AND LODGING

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WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL?

Travel into New Orleans is recommended on or before Wednesday, July 1st.

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE AT THE FESTIVAL?

July is very warm and humid in New Orleans with frequent shower and thunderstorm activity. The daily high temperatures tend to be in the lower 90s f (32-33c) with the early morning and evening lows mostly in the mid to upper 70s f (24-26c).

WHERE SHOULD I BOOK MY HOTEL?

Please see a list of our recommended accommodations and book HERE.

DO YOU HAVE ANY DISCOUNTED HOTEL RATES?

Please visit the travel section of our website for Official Essence Festival® Hotel Partner promotions.

WHAT ARE THE HOTEL PACKAGES?

Please visit the travel section of our website for Official Essence Festival Hotel Packages.

IS THERE DESIGNATED FESTIVAL TRANSPORTATION?

Essence has a partnership with the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Shuttle for your travel upon arrival and departure from New Orleans. More information coming soon!

WHAT'S THE BEST TIME TO ARRIVE TO THE DAYTIME OR NIGHTTIME EVENTS?

You should plan to depart several hours early. Please be prepared for significant delays with traffic.

IS PARKING AVAILABLE AT THE FESTIVAL?

Parking is available at the Convention Center and Mercedes Benz-Superdome (based on availability and subject to fees). Please note that all parking garages accept cash only.

RULES AND REGULATIONS


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WILL I BE SEARCHED UPON ENTRY?

The Convention Center and Mercedes-Benz Superdome uses walk-through metal detectors at all entry gates to enhance safety and security.

Prior to Entering:

Please remove: Cell phones, keys, cameras, other large metal objects

Do not remove: Coins, jackets, wallets, watches or small jewelry

All venues have a security policy so please adhere to the requests.

Please have all approved clear bags open and ready for screening. Express lanes are available at all entrances for guests without bags.

The State of Louisiana bans the possession of guns on the premises.

ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON WHAT I CAN BRING INTO THE SUPERDOME?

Clear Bag Policy: Any bag, purse, or briefcase that is larger than 12”x6”x12” will not be allowed into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. All bags that enter must be clear, with the exception of medical bags which may be subject to inspection, and small clutch bags (4.5”x6.5”). Gallon size clear Ziploc bags are permitted.


ESSENCE® offers several stylish clear bag options. View and pre-order our clear bags here:

https://shops.essence.com/ For more information regarding the Clear Bag Policy, please visit http://www.mbsuperddome.com/pan-your-visit/clear-bag-policy.

For additional restrictions, please find the list of prohibited items below the FAQs.

CAN I BRING MY OWN FOOD AND WATER TO FESTIVAL PROGRAMMING?

No outside food for beverages are allowed into any of the Festival venues.

*MERCEDES SUPER DOME PROHIBITED ITEMS

·      Alcoholic beverages

·      All weapons

·      Animals (except service animals)

·      Backpacks, bags or purses larger than 12”x6”x12”

·      Balls, frisbees, or other projectiles

·      Bicycles, scooters, skateboards or skates

·      Firearms, knives or other items and weapons considered dangerous by security or law enforcement personnel (ex: pepper spray, tasers, stun guns, brass knuckles, handcuffs, etc.)

·      Fireworks or other incendiary devices

·      *Food and beverages (except those sold by event vendors)

·      Glass bottles or containers

·      Ice chests and coolers of any size

·      Illicit drugs

·      Laser lights/pointers

·      Smoking or the use of E-cigarettes

·      Sticks or poles

·      Tripods

·      Cameras (basic point and shoot consumer-grade cameras) without detachable lenses and other accessories (monopods, selfie sticks, tripods, GoPro mounts, and other attachments are not allowed)

·      GoPro cameras without accessories

·      No cigarettes, cigars, E-cigarettes or vaping devices (Chicago Parks Department Policy)

·      Aerosol containers (including sunscreen and personal beauty products)

·     Professional audio or video recording equipment ( no video recording will be allowed)

·      Drones or any other remote flying device

·      Unauthorized literature or promotional giveaways

·      Any item deemed unsafe or a potential annoyance to staff or guests

*Subject to change

GUEST RELATIONS

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL® GUEST RELATIONS
Essence Festival® has unmatched customer service with the goal of meeting all of your needs before, during, and after your visit. Essence Festival’s Guest Relations are responsible for enhancing your experience. 


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HOW MAY GUEST RELATIONS HELP?

Guest Relations provides a plethora of resources! Whether this is your first time to Essence Festival(R), or your 26th, you never know when you will need the guidance of a friendly, helpful Guest Relations representative.  Chances are if you have a question you need answered, Guest Relations can not only answer your question but guide you on your way to the next step. If they don’t have the answer or support to take care of your needs, they can point you in the right direction to get the help you need. If at all possible, they make it happen – with a smile! 

WHERE CAN I FIND A GUEST RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVE AT FESTIVAL?

Guest Relations are available at almost all Festival venues for easy convenience!

The Convention Center: 2 Guest Relations locations in the lobby

Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 2 Guest Relations locations: on the concourse, at the 4 Superlounge entrances

Fashion House: Guest Relations Concierge Desk

Essence Beauty Carnival(TM): Guest Relations Concierge Desk

Global Black Economic Forum & E Suite: Guest Relations Concierge Desk

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF ESSENCE GUEST RELATIONS MAGIC?

Festival attendees may think, from time to time, that there are no limits at the Essence Festival(R) experience. Well, of course we like to think that about Essence – but there may be a time when you will hear, “I’m sorry, I need to research your request”. While this is rare, we understand the frustration. We ask that Festival guests have patience with our Guest Relations representatives as they work to accomodate your requests.  If they can help in any way, they definitely will! In scenarios where their hands are tied, we ask for your understanding. We have an exceptional Guest Relations team who will gladly offer alternatives whenever possible.

CAN GUEST RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVES OFFER EVENT POINTERS AND SPECIFICS?

Depending on your need, there will be times you’ll want to have specific items with you when receiving Guest Relations support. We suggest you keep in mind you may need items such as your ticket confirmation numbers, photo IDs, etc. Here’s another tip – ask the Guest Relations representatives if they have any tip(s) for you about a specific event about which you are inquiring. For example, perhaps you are buying tickets for Essence After Dark. The Guest Relations representative may have helpful tips about seating suggestions to have the best view of the show! We are thankful Essence Festival(R) offers such a service as Guest Relations. And even more thankful that they pride themselves on their excellent customer service. In the words of Walt Disney himself, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” No wonder Disney is so popular!

HOW CAN I CONTACT GUEST RELATIONS?

In the Mobile App or via email at [email protected]

HOW CAN I STAY HYDRATED?

NOLA swelters in the summertime. Be sure to DRINK WATER (and other nonalcoholic beverages) throughout the day. Dehydration is the number one cause of dissatisfaction at the Festival. Water makes your brain and body work, and you need them both to enjoy Bonnaroo. (Not a water drinker? Then tank up with sports drinks, iced tea or anything else without alcohol. Also, foods like apples, watermelon, pineapple and cucumber are like tasty mini water-bottles.) Even when the sun hides, there’s a good chance you’ll feel the heat. Protect yourself. Pack sunglasses, a hat, breathable clothing and plenty of water. Plus, don’t forget to apply sunscreen early and often.

WHAT'S THE #1 WAY TO WRECK MY WEEKEND?

Drugs & Alcohol

Drugs raise your body temperature (sometimes fatally) and drain H-2-0 from your cells, while alcohol dehydrates you. Under the brutal July sun, your body and mind can fry way too easily, and the dangers of combining substances are only multiplied in this environment.

WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS OF DRUG OR ALCOHOL OVERDOSE?

Pale skin/ skin discoloration

Inability to talk

Blurred vision

Inability to stay awake

Irregular breathing

Skin that is cool and sweaty or hot and dry (instead of hot and sweaty)

Sleepiness, confusion and disorientation

Difficulty standing or walking

Unconsciousness

Seizures

  If you, a guest or a friend are in trouble, please seek out medical help IMMEDIATELY. Medical and security are safe havens at Essence Festival®, and you will not get in trouble for anything you do or say. Their only concern is your well-being.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM SEXUAL ASSAULT AT FESTIVAL?

Be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts. If you’re uncomfortable, move to a more comfortable and safe location.

Don’t go it alone. Travel in pairs and stay in well-lit areas.

Date rape drugs are real. Don’t take drinks from strangers. Also, don’t set your drink down and pick it up later.

HOW CAN I HELP SOMEONE THAT HAS BEEN HARMED BY SEXUAL ASSAULT?

Help them seek immediate medical attention and notify safety personnel.

Stay with the victim until safety personnel has arrived.

Be supportive and a good listener—reassure them they are not to blame.

HOW CAN YOU AVOID SEXUAL ASSAULT WITHOUT CAUSING HARM TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS?

Remember that “no” means “NO,” even if it’s said politely. And, no answer is NOT “yes.”

Keep in mind that someone who is intoxicated is not capable of making responsible decisions. (That goes for both of you.) Monitor yourself. Some people cross the line without realizing it.

STAY IN THE LOOP

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