POSTED Wed. Jul 1, 2015


The New Orleans & Me Guide to 2015 Essence

Fourth of July in the Crescent City is almost upon us, and for the twenty-first straight year, the holiday coincides with Essence Fest, a music and culture festival that celebrates hip-hop, R&B, African-American culture, and much more. Most events take place either at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. You’ll notice both venues are indoors, so the festival can be a great way to beat that pesky New Orleans summer heat.

This year’s headliners include Kendrick Lamar, fresh off the spring release of his critically adored sophomore record To Pimp A Butterfly, as well as Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Common, Trombone Shorty, and tons more. The festival kicks off on Thursday night (July 2nd) with a main stage Superdome performance from the hilarious comedian turned movie star Kevin Hart.

Essence Fest is more than a music festival though. The event also hosts a series of inspirational speakers and seminars about empowerment in the black community. This year’s line-up includes Deepak Chopra, Steve Harvey, and India.Arie. A full list and schedule of speakers can be found here.

The festival has grown increasingly popular the past half-decade thanks to its reputation as an affordable and multi-faceted event. This year, promoters have expanded the Essence Day Party Series with afternoon DJ sets meant to prime concertgoers for the night’s festivities. Day Party DJs include DJ Drama, Funkmaster Flex, and Biz Markie.

Performances start daily from Thursday through Sunday at 1pm at the Sugar Mill (1021 Convention Center Blvd). Tickets can be bought separately or in conjunction with passes to the main events at the Superdome. The full Essence Fest experience is not complete without a few Day Party cocktails.

Here’s a few of our picks for artists to check out:

Thursday, July 2nd
Kevin Hart – Mainstage @ 8:45pm

Hart has come a long way from his former shoe-sizing gig in Philadelphia. He’s performed stand-up all across the country and routinely stars in some of the biggest Hollywood comedies, including this past year’s Get Hard with Will Ferrell.

Friday, July 3rd
Doug E. Fresh – Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge @ 7:05pm

The hip-hop veteran and beat boxing extraordinaire performs the hits from his thirty-plus year career.

Maze ft. Frankie Beverly – Mainstage @ 11:15pm

An Essence Fest crowd favorite, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly returns to the festival after several years away. Until 2009, the group closed out every Essence Fest, and now, thanks to popular demand, they’ll return with a much-anticipated performance.

Saturday, July 4th
Tank & the Bangas – Soul of R&B Superlounge @ 7:00pm

Local spoken word, soul, and hip-hop collective puts on a theatrical, eccentric show every time they grace the stage.

Erykah Badu – Mainstage @ 8:35pm

The Queen of Neo-Soul returns to Essence Fest once again. Badu has won numerous grammy’s and released multi-platinum records since the mid 90’s.

Missy Elliot – Mainstage @ 9:55pm

Missy Elliot has been a grammy-winning star musician for six-plus albums, but her profile expanded even further after an unforgettable Super Bowl performance earlier this year. Expect hits like “Get Your Freak On” and “Work It” to be highlights.

Sunday, July 5th
Kendrick Lamar – Mainstage @ 10:55pm

Compton, California native has gone from internet sensation to the heir of the west coast hip-hip throne in just under five years. He’s a chameleon of a songwriter, storyteller, and performer, combining intellectual hip-hop with jazz and pop like no other modern artist. Lamar makes for a fine closing act to the 2015 Essence Fest.

For more information, including travel and hotel tips, check out the Essence Fest website here.

Above image: Big Sam’s Funky Nation performing at a past Essence Festival, courtesy of Essence’s Facebook page.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Nov 27, 2018


Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....

POSTED Feb 28, 2018


Off To The (Wiener) Races...

Off To The (Wiener) Races...

We often stress on this site the unique nature of New Orleans. The one of a kind confluence of cultures, ethnic groups, immigration patterns and geographic conditions that…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 30, 2017




Almost any identifiably New Orleans menu item has a corresponding festival, but up until recently, one of the city’s most iconic culinary treats was left without its own…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



    was added to your favorites.



    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook