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What started as a one-time event has turned into an annual celebration of African-American culture and music that’s one of New Orleans’ biggest parties of the year. The Essence Festival first started in 1995, when it was intended to be stand-alone event marking the 25th anniversary of Essence, a beloved lifestyle magazine for Black and African-American women. The event was a smash hit and became Essence Fest, an annual music festival that is now the biggest African-American music and cultural celebration in the United States. 

The multi-day festival features spectacular line-ups for local, national and international artists and days full of live music in a wide variety of genres from jazz to hip hop to R&B to funk. Attendees can also shop clothing, jewelry and artwork from vendors, attend workshops and seminars on topics like beauty and finance and much more.  

Along with being a fun-filled, joyous event, Essence Fest is also called “a party with a purpose.” While it is a party, it’s also a chance to celebrate and uplift the African-American and Black community and culture, as well as encourage conversation and education with inspirational talks and lectures, debates and more.  


Essence Fest 2023: June 29 - July 3

Images by: @essencefest, @michaelrowephoto, @voneciacarswell, @lalearcreative on Instagram