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2017 Essence Music Festival: Five Things You Need To Know

By Isatou Simaga (Patch Staff)

Tickets to the 23rd annual celebration are on sale now with live performances from Diana Ross, Solange, Chance the Rapper and more. The Essence Music Festival has lit up the streets of New Orleans with vibrant culture and music since its inception in 1994, with amazing artists from past to present all converging for a full three-day celebration of music, culture and entertainment. Although the big festival is still weeks away, it’s never to early to make plans for the best weekend ever, fully equipped with information to knock out almost any curve ball.

This year’s 23rd annual celebration includes artists we’ve known and loved for years, like living legends Diana Ross and Chaka Khan, to soul music all-stars Mary J Blige, India Arie and Erykah Badu. The 40-plus artist lineup also includes stars who have climbed the charts and into our hearts in the past year, like Chance the Rapper and Solange.

Here’s a quick list of everything you need to know about what lays ahead and how to make your weekend at Essence Fest 2017 the perfect experience.

Essence Festival Location, Dates & Lineup

1) Location: Mercedes Benz Superdome, 1500 Sugar Bowl Drive, New Orleans, LA 70112

Date: Fri 6/30-7/2

Performances at Essence Fest are broken up into two stations, the Mainstage and the Superlounge. On the Mainstage at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, artists like Diana Ross, John Legend, Jill Scott, Solange, Jazmine Sullivan and New Orleans native Mystikal will perform and light up the atmosphere with hits we know and love. The magic continues in the Superlounge with musical performances from Doug E. Fresh, BJ The Chicago Kid, Teyana Taylor, Jhene Aiko and more.

2) Essence Fest 2017 Speakers

In addition to the all-star musical performances, Essence Fest will offer popular and engaging expos, panel discussions and a lineup of influential speakers. This year’s festival will feature appearances from powerful women like Director Ava Duvernay, Iyanla Vanzant, Cissy Houston, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and more.

3)  Essence Festival Tickets

A festival concert ticket will get you access to Mainstage performances at the Superdome and will also include full access to Superlounge performances the same night, however, single-night tickets are not available yet. Tickets for all three days are available now and start at $126. The festival VIP package comes packed with exclusive benefits like a one-year subscription to Essence Magazine, all-access backstage passes at the Superdome and much more.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now and can be purchased online at If you prefer to make your purchases in person, tickets are available at these Ticketmaster outlets, the Smoothie King Center Box Office and Mercedes-Benz Superdome Box Office on event days. Or you can make a purchase by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

  • Tickets for the festival are non-refundable unless there is a change in date or time of a show.
  • If you happen to lose or damage your ticket, you can request another ticket on the day of the event with proof of purchase and a valid ID.
  • Everyone must have a ticket in order to be allowed entry into the Superdome.

4) For the Out-of-Towners

Flying in from out of town? Essence partnered with hotels in and around New Orleans for Essence Fest Weekend. To avoid the madness of incoming festival goers, it is recommended to arrive in New Orleans a day before the festival begins to have time to settle into the city and maybe squeeze in a little sightseeing.

5) Parking & Directions

Available at the Mercedes Benz Superdome are a total of seven parking garages for public parking and two surface lots, located across from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the Smoothie King Center.

  • Re-entry and overnight parking are strictly prohibited.
  • All garages accept cash only for parking.
  • Cars parked illegally or in restricted areas will be tagged or towed.

The following will not be allowed in the Superdome:

Backpacks, banners, glass, noise makers, selfie sticks, outside food and drink, containers of any kind.

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