Your Favorite Essence Music Festival Memories

Past EMF goers share their favorite memories.
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 27, 2012

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Being with my girlfriends, the music, the people, the whole “ESSENCE” of New Orleans. Seeing Janet Jackson was life affirming! Seeing New Edition made me cry. It was a full circle moment – they were my first concert as a child. We love EMF! We go every year!

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Hanging out with my sister. She lives in Chicago and I live Frisco (Dallas area), so we don’t get to see each other that often. For the last three years we’ve made plans to meet up at the ESSENCE Music Festival with one of our other cousins and have great time. I guess you could say the Festival brings family and friends together. My most memorable moment was when my sister spotted Laz Alonso. How she spotted him in the crowd across from Cafe Du Monde, I have not idea. I will never forget what he said as we waived to him, “Well, hello sweetheart.” It was like something out of movie and very nice of him to say hi to us. Love the Festival and all it does to bring us together!
FYI: The photo is of us at Dooky Chase restaurant.

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I love the ESSENCE Music Festival! I have been attending for the last 15 years! I always bring someone new to the festival and they always-always have the best time of their lives. I love the concerts on the both the main stage and super lounges. I love the freebies! One year Prince gave out free CDs of his then upcoming album! My favorite ESSENCE Music Festival memory was when I invited seven ladies from Panama City to come with me and even though it was a challenge, it turned out fantastic! We reserved a suite and when it time to get dress, we would pull straws! We helped each other with make-up, getting dressed, swapped accessories,then we partied, ate, drinked, celebrated, got lost in New Orleans. All in all they had so much fun.
The convention center and surrounding areas are so much fun to. The food, drinks (snowballs, daiquiris, entertainment, shopping, people, events, concerts, just the city itself is the place to be and I wouldn’t trade it for nothing in the world! I am so looking for to this year’s event.

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One of my favorite memories at the 2011 Essence Music Festival was attending the Convention Center. The sights and sounds of people full of laughter and happy faces is the best. We enjoyed the empowerment speakers and being up and close to so many celebrities was an incredible experience. It was nice to see people like Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, Shaun Robinson from Access Hollywood, the ladies from Basketball Wives and I could go on with so many more. Overall, the people made this an incredible experience. The events at the Convention Center is always a “must do” experience in addition to going to the concerts. You have a chance of having an up and close experience while enjoying the food, music, crafts and people. Last year I went with my husband, my two daughters and my mom. This was the first time for my mom. She loved every minute of it. I love going to the Essence Music Festival each year. It is very addictive once it ends you’re already making future plans to do it again.

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I have been attending the ESSENCE Music Festival for over 15 years. EMF officially kicks off my Summer.

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Last year my friend and I continued our Essence tradition. We decided to venture off from the convention center and visit the Carol’s Daughter pop-up store. We thought this was going to be a hair product shopping trip and we would be in and out! To our surprise, we were in for a treat. It was like a party. The DJ began playing “Wobble.” The next thing I knew Lisa, founder and creator of Carol’s Daughter is out there on the floor dancing with me. We wobbled as she began to show me her own dance moves in between. We had a ball! Just an ordinary shopping trip turned into a blast!

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My favorite memory was seeing Fantasia do her Go Go set last year. You can only expect that excitement at EMF this year.

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WOW! I have sooooo many memories and honestly every moment at EMF is my favorite moment! I have 700 pics from the last three years to prove it. A few highlights include seeing the New Edition reunion and meeting Dru Hill. Both groups were the soundtrack of my childhood! But if I must choose one, it would be being selected by Miss Tina Knowles to model one of her Miss Tina dresses on the Walmart stage and then Miss Tina telling me, “That dress looks good on you. You can keep it!”

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My favorite Essence Music Festival memory would be when Essence brought Janet Jackson to the Superdome. Janet is my favorite artist/performer and I have been a fan for more than twenty years. I have all her albums. I learned routines to her videos and I also met some of my best friends within the Janet fan club. So when I found out that Janet was performing I ran to the computer to buy my tickets to Essence 2010. Prior to the show, many of Janet fans (Janet FAM) decided to come to the show and show our love for Janet. The fans meet up in New Orleans and we had a great time. Essence thank you for showing everyone a great time in New Orleans. Attached is the picture the Janet fam took at the superdome the night Janet performed.

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I think last year (2011) was one of the best ESSENCE Music Festivals I’ve been to since 2005. I ventured out all by myself to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. First thing happened to me was at the Convention Center is that I won a ticket to the Saturday show just for being there (one of the staffers me and gave me a ticket because they said I kept the Facebook page exciting last year). Right after that I signed up for a contest at the booth. Low and behold later that evening I received an email from stating I won $100. At another booth Russell Simmons was giving away FREE credit cards with automatic $10 on it. I ran into a few celebs that I got pictures with. I ended up on a TV video too at the LOL comedy show. I had so much fun last year. Just think I started out all by myself during the day. I ended up having a great time. I did not realize until later (closer to the event) that I came in 2nd place for the Essence Music Festival Facebook contest. Essence chose 10 second place winners. I received a pocketbook in the mail and a bunch of other nice freebies two weeks after Essence was over. The best moment of all is that I met a new Best Friend (Karen). We call each other EBFF (Essence best friends forever). It’s an inside joke. We promised each other for now on whenever I attend Essence she will too. She is an Essence Veteran and lives in New Orleans.

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This picture was taken on the way heading to New Orleans, LA from Tampa, FL. I started planning the trip around May or June 2011. I was so excited I had a list of restaurants I wanted to try, I called Spa Atlantis scheduled a massage and a facial. I had a vision of what the festival would look like. What the people would be like. When I arrived it was everything plus more. Oh and the food, the oysters on the shell grilled with butter and cheese at Drago’s, fried shrimp, fried fish, gumbo, plus more! I also loved the music – Kem,George Clinton, Kayne West, Jill Scott, Mary J Blidge, Chakka Khan, the Brass band, New Edition. The beautiful people I saw license plates from Texas, Tennessee, California, I mean good looking people. Not to mention all the celebrities sitting in floor seats. I spotted Sindad and Pattie LaBelle. The view was amazing I sat in the rear floor. I had a blast dancing wildly, just letting loose, shaking my rear. I would attend every year if I could, and I would recommend this event to music lovers and party goers. Essence Music Festival is my all time summer favorite vacation/ concert.

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Last year was my first year at ESSENCE Music Festival. I also never visited New Orleans before. So many people, the love and the ease of everyone makes this my annual trip.

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Just simply hanging out with great wonderful girlfriends – new and old. I had a great time!

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Last year, I enjoyed spending time with my family and running into friends.

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It was the late ‘90s and it was my very first ESSENCE Music Festival. My best friend, Malinda, and I went to New Orleans with every intentions of having a wonderful time. I went through a very traumatic experience in my life and was looking forward to letting my hair down and enjoying what was to come. We arrived that evening before and got settled into our room, then we got out to walk the French Quarters. The next morning we went to the Convention Center where the classes & workshops were taking place. As we entered the building, Malinda begin to chant in a nervous voice, “there goes Johnny Cochran.” As I looked up, he and his people along with his body guard were coming in the direction were we froze. We took out our cameras and began taking shots. As they got close, Malinda jumped behind Attorney Cochran so that I could capture that moment, but his body guard extended his arm to keep us from getting too close to him. Then to our surprise, he smiled and said "It’s ok. Ladies you can take pictures with me." To this day we still have and cherish that moment, little did I know how much these pictures would mean to us. After that we met and took pictures with Marion Berry and his wife, Charles Blackmon of Cameo and the beautiful, nice and down to earth, Victoria Rockwell.
Some of the other highlights were eating at Mother’s, it was worth the wait as well as other restaurants. Then there was the Gay Parade that I will never forget. It very interesting and fun being around such care free people. The beignets are a definitely a must when you visit New Orleans. I had a friend to send me a box to North Carolina. :-) The highlight of the performances for us, was Stevie Wonder who was one of the headliners and a headliner he was. We danced so much that after an hour or so, all I can remember is having to sit down and rock from side to side, what an awesome musician he is! It was great to visit some of the performances in the lounges, I remember them shutting the group “Solo” lounge down, because it was over capacity. We ended our last night by going on the gambling ship after the last concert and staying out til the next morning. We had just enough time to get a taxi back to the hotel, grab our luggage and get to the airport for our flight. As soon as our flight left the ground, I crashed. The entire experience is a must for everyone that enjoyed having a good time. My birthday is July 10th, so there was no gift that could compare to my EMF experience.

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My favorite ESSENCE Music Festival memory is with my aunts. I attended EMF for the first time when I was 16 years old and I remembered some of the artist that performed such as Run DMC and Cameo. It was incredible when I attended at a young age. Now that Essence have grown so much over the years and I’m older now I share these special memories with my finacé. Thanks ESSENCE!

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I had the opportunity to attend the Essence Music Festival in 2009, it was my very first and only time I attended EMF. Me and my girlfriend Janae went together coming all the way from Portland, Oregon. Both of us had fun and no agenda on the mind. We had such a blast. Let’s just say, I hardly slept. We partied all weekend, better than Vegas. From our hotel. We saw folks parading down the street in costumes (this went on every night at 4 a.m.) and walked down Bourbon Street. EMF was conveniently located to everything so getting around was not hard. We enjoyed hanging out at the Convention Center during the day, because of all the different booths from art to beauty. You name, it was all there. Celebrities were all over the place walking among the people at the Convention Center that you could talk to them or take a photo without any problems! We even formed a “Soul Train” Line and danced with the Hot-Looking McDonald’s “Mocha Men.” We also enjoyed that. The live concerts were great, and we even lucked-up on an after hour party and got in for free and got to meet Spinderella, Dana Dane, Slick Rick and Dougie Fresh! Steve Harvey was there to discuss his very popular book Act like a Lady, Think like Man that weekend, and boy all of us ladies was there to hear what Steve Harvey had to say! Malik Yoba was hosting a male forum on stage and boy they catered to us women that day. Ginuwine, Ed Gordan, Lamman Rucker, just to name a few were also there. We had such an awesome time in the New Orleans, we went on a budget but we a had such a blast that money was not even a factor! I would definitely recommend everyone to go and see for themselves! Thank you Essence for such an awesome experience!


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