NEW YORK, May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The heat will be on a day earlier at the ESSENCE Music Festival in New Orleans. Organizers announced today that the traditionally held three-day festival is now expanding to four days, kicking off Thursday, July 5th, with an all day youth empowerment experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, then culminating with the first ever youth empowerment concert on the New & Next stage that night at the Louisiana Superdome.
Featuring a roster of new millennium generation artists in the music scene, the performers will include recording artist and hip-hop royalty Diggy Simmons, R&B pop group The OMG Girlz and New Orleans' marching band The Roots of Music. These bright young stars will share the spotlight with some of the world's top performers in music and entertainment such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, D'Angelo, Charlie Wilson, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Trey Songz and more during the 18th annual ESSENCE Music Festival that will now take place July 5-8. The New and Next stage is sponsored by Verizon, Wal-Mart and community partner Capital One. To get tickets for the New and Next Stage please visit essencemusicfestival.com.
"The ESSENCE music festival has always been more than just music. It's a forum to transform lives by the power of our voice to celebrate our community through music, entertainment and empowerment," states Michelle Ebanks, President, ESSENCE Communications Inc. "We are deepening our youth empowerment day to the festival to focus on the matters that are most critical to our next generation and we are celebrating their voice with our first ever youth empowerment concert at the Superdome. We heard consistent feedback from our audience that they wanted more and we're delivering in our Festival expansion."
Sponsored by Coca-Cola, My Black Is Beautiful, McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Verizon, Capital One and the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation, the Youth Empowerment Experience will invite youth groups from the New Orleans area to participate in this year's two programs: the Saving our Sons mentoring initiative spearheaded by Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu and the Girl Up NOLA initiative led by First Lady Cheryl Landrieu. Saving Our Sons is a call to action for the community to invest in the lives of young men to prevent violence and stop the murder epidemic and high crime rate in New Orleans as well as every city across the nation. The program recruits and trains mentors to help over 100 young males and their needs through partnerships with community organizations.
Girl Up NOLA furthers the personal growth of our young girls by generating inspiration, creating new experiences, building connections with positive role models and increasing access to resources available within their communities. Girl Up NOLA asks all female caregivers—mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sister, friends—to take care of their young girls and cultivate their aspirations. More activities, events and speakers will be announced soon.
Now in its 18th year, the ultimate destination for entertainment and inspiration hosted over 422,000 attendees last year. What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events" by Advertising Age. The ESSENCE Music Festival is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture. Throughout its history, the Festival has featured an array of performers including Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Al Green, Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams, among others.
For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit ESSENCE Music Festival www.essencemusicfestival.com Join the Festival community: follow us on Twitter @essencemusic #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival on Facebook.
The 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival, in partnership with QuintEvents, has created "ESSENCE VIP Events" to offer fans the ultimate in "insider access", with exclusive VIP ticket, travel and hospitality party venue packages. The Official packages are available now at the Official website, www.EssenceVIPEvents.com.
The presenting sponsor for the 2012 ESSENCE Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Major sponsors include Coors Light, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Ford, My Black is Beautiful, U.S. Army and Verizon. Official Sponsors are CNN, State Farm, TV-One and Visa Pre-Paid. Superlounge sponsors are Coca-Cola, Ford, McDonald's and Verizon Wireless.
The 2012 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI). GeChar is the executive producer of the 2012 ESSENCE Empowerment Experience.
ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online. The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 42 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women's lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.
SOURCE Essence Communications Inc.