NEW YORK, July 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE is proud to announce that the 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival hosted more than 422,000 attendees, who gathered in New Orleans over the July 4th Weekend for three days of music, empowerment and community events. The ESSENCE Music Festival is currently celebrating its 17th anniversary as the nation's largest annual African-American cultural event and continues to be a hallmark of New Orleans tourism.
The Festival, which took place on July 1st – July 3rd, celebrated "The Roots of R&B" with nighttime concerts at the newly renovated Louisiana Superdome, and delivered a "Weekend of Transformation" via the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience, which featured daily panels, keynotes and presentations at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. This year, the Festival enjoyed an expanded presence at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, utilizing over 600,000 square feet for sponsorship activations, the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience and the ESSENCE Marketplace, which attracted over 100,000 visitors each day.
"This year's attendance of more than 422,000 certainly underscores the significance of the ESSENCE Music Festival as the place where we all come together to celebrate culture and connect to our community," said Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks, "At ESSENCE, we are committed to being present in the lives of our audience and the ESSENCE Music Festival is a one-of-a-kind platform not only for entertainment, but also for celebration, information and inspiration."
Over 40 acts performed on various stages in the Superdome, including Usher, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, Mint Condition, El DeBarge, Miguel, Trey Songz, New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Boyz II Men, Stephanie Mills, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Macy Gray, Stephanie Mills, Dwele, Alexander O'Neal & Cherrelle, M.C. Lyte and New Orleans talent including Irma Thomas, Kourtney Heart, Rebirth Brass Band, Charmaine Neville Band, and TBC Brass Band.
Beyond the music performances, within the halls of the Convention Center, attendees were able to have the rare opportunity to have their voices heard by engaging with and learning from some of the most influential thinkers and leaders from the worlds of politics, health, arts and entertainment and spirituality, through the ESSENCE Empowerment Experience. Keeping within the theme of a Weekend of Transformation, participants were able to enjoy conversations with Steve Harvey, Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tavis Smiley, Terry McMillan, Soledad O'Brien and many others.
The presenting sponsor for the 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Major sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen Collection, Ford, McDonald's, Olay, Pantene, Tide, U.S. Army, Verizon and Walmart; official sponsors include CNN, My Black is Beautiful, State Farm, TNT, TV One and Visa Pre-Paid.
The 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival is executive produced by ESSENCE Festivals LLC, a division of ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI).
ABOUT ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS INC.:
ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the ESSENCE brand is "Where Black Women Come First". 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, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the ESSENCE Book Club, ESSENCE.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 41 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information 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.