Its that time of the year again! Essence Festival!
Essence Fest is an annual music festival held in New Orleans, Louisiana to celebrate Essence Magazine. During the day there is a FREE expo at the convention center with all of the events major sponsors including Mcdonald’s, Coke, State Farm and Walmart. There are panels, performances, meet and greets, vendor shopping, food, free stuff and more! You just NEVER know who you will run into in the convention center or on the street! At night is the concerts, which feature a mainstage which has 4 artists performing throughout the night and 4 super lounges which offer a up close and personal concert experience similar to house of blues concerts. The super lounges usually have indie/new/old school artists and the mainstage boasts major artists such as Prince, Beyonce, and this year (2016) Mariah Carey and Kendrick Lamar!
Now that you’ve got the rundown on what Essence Festival is. Here are 10 tips to SLAY at Essence Festival!
- BRING COMFY SHOES: You will be walking all day and standing all night! Seriously..not ideal for heels! or even wedges! And the streets of New Orleans aren’t very even..you don’t want to be the one taking a tumble on these hot Nawlin Streets!
- PACK/BUY A HAND FAN (and a umbrella): It will be scorchingly hot and humid over the weekend and a rain shower can come at anytime. You want to be prepared.
- BRING A PORTABLE CHARGER: There are so many awesome places and people to see during the weekend and your phone camera will be on overload! Don’t get caught with a dead phone!
- BUY TICKETS TO THE CONCERTS: Some of the artists that come will be your ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity to see them perform live (I saw Prince for the first and last time in 2014. RIP PRINCE) Even if you don’t like the mainstage artists, essence provides you with the opportunity to see many old school and up and coming artists live and in color. Tweet and Lianne La Havas gave me SO MUCH LIFE last year in the superlounge! Sidenote: You cannot bring selfie sticks into the superdome. They will confiscate and trash them. Double side note: bring a Dasani water bottle cap and a straw because when you order drinks in the superdome they have no cap or top
- PACK WISELY: Bring 2 outfits per day. After walking in the heat all day you are going to want to get RE-SLAYED for the concerts and after parties. And you need to save room for all the FREE swag you will get and any purchases! Sidenote: It’s chilly in the superdome so bring a light jacket or wrap for the concert. And see tip #1
- DON’T SPEND ALL YOUR TIME ON BOURBON: Bourbon street is the “popular” new orleans attraction but it will be packed like sardines and it stinks! There are TONS of other things to do at night during or after the concerts. Try Frenchman Street, LIVE local music galore!
- BE COOL WHEN YOU SEE A CELEBRITY: They (the celebrities) are all walking around NOLA like “normal” people. When you see them, be cool and calmly ask them for a picture! You never know who you might run into! I ran into Chrisette Michele last year and she was SUPER SWEET!
LONG LINES ARE REAL: You will be standing in lines all weekend. For bags. For entry. For Food. For EVERYTHING. Because this is he Essence Festival and over 500K people attend every year. Just be patient and stay calm. Don’t let your anger/attitude get you kicked out! Oh and refer to tip #1
- DO NOT DRIVE: I live here OK. So it’s ok for me because I know the streets. But YOU, yes YOU out of towners be prepared to pay outrageous parking fees (like $30-40/per day) all over the french quarter. Plus it will be traffic. Opt for the street car or Uber. Or if you are staying at a hotel, take the walk! Sidenote: If you do decide to drive and park on the street, make sure you know how to parallel park. Refer to tip #1 and #2!
- BE FLEXIBLE AND HAVE FUN: There is so much to see and do. Check out the essence festival app and eventbrite for the schedules and nightly events. Pick out a few MUST DO things and then be adventurous! New Orleans is a special place and you are bound to have fun wherever you end up!
Bonus TIP: The service will be HORRIBLE in the convention center and superdome so make plans to meet back up with your friends at a designated place and time before you split!
Double Bonus TIP: If you attend the concert and park at the superdome, be prepared to wait up to an hour to get out of the parking lot. Bring snacks! It makes the wait more pleasant.
If you follow all these tips you will be sure to SLAY the essence festival and sprinkle your magic all over the city!I'm ready to SLAY #essencefest this year! Are you?! #slayessencefest Click To Tweet
Is this your first time at essence festival? What part are you most excited about?
Been to Essence Festival before? What others tips do you have to SLAY at the festival?