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270,000 Attendees Converge in New Orleans For the 14th Annual Essence Music Festival This Fourth of July Weekend


With record-breaking attendance of 270,000, The 14th annual Essence Music Festival presented by Coca-Cola celebrated another momentous year in New Orleans this July 4, 5 and 6. In addition, Grammy award winning superstar Beyoncé was formally announced at the close of this year’s Festival as the first headliner for next year’s Essence Music Festival special 15th anniversary celebration, by Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications, Inc. and Angela Burt-Murray, Editor-in-Chief, ESSENCE magazine. The 15th anniversary Essence Music Festival is taking place in New Orleans, LA on July 3, 4, and 5, 2009.

A fan favorite, Beyoncé will return to the Essence Music Festival stage for the third time; promising to make a major splash for the Festival’s historic 15th anniversary celebration.

Featuring the biggest names in entertainment and the nation’s most influential speakers, artists, authors and leaders, the Essence Music Festival is the nation’s largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture. The Essence Music Festival is comprised of an unprecedented three days of cultural celebrations and empowerment seminars and three nights of performances by some of today’s greatest African-American artists.

The 2008 Essence Music Festival featured headline performances by Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Chris Rock, Rihanna, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Keyshia Cole, Jill Scott, J. Holiday, LL Cool J, Musiq, Morris Day and the Time, Patti Labelle, as well as Empowerment Seminar appearances by Tyler Perry, Dr. Bill Cosby, Rev. Al Sharpton, Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Hill Harper, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Juanita Bynum, Tom Joyner and more. For the first time, the Essence Music Festival partnered with for live streaming from the Louisiana Superdome of Essence Music Festival performances and highlights on “We are so pleased with the turn-out for this year’s Essence Music Festival -- loyal attendees who joined us to experience the Festival’s unique combination of music, arts and empowerment,” said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications, Inc. “And, of course, we are thrilled to have Beyoncé back next year for our 15th anniversary, which will absolutely ensure an extra special celebration!”

Sponsors of the 2008 Essence Music Festival include presenting sponsor, Coca-Cola; major sponsors Chevrolet, CoverGirl Queen Collection, McDonald’s, Pantene, U.S. Army, and Wal-Mart; and official sponsors Budweiser, My Black is Beautiful, Southwest Airlines, TBS, TVOne, Vaseline and VH1 Soul.

The Essence Music Festival started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine. Now the Festival has been heralded as one of the country’s “Top 10 Leading Brand Events” in 2007 by Advertising Age; highlighted prominently among well-known consumer events such as NASCAR and Spring Break. The Essence Music Festival has featured a host of legendary performers over the years, including Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncè, Chaka Khan, Chris Brown, Destiny’s Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Kanye West, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige, The O’Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams, to name a few.

The 2008 Essence Music Festival is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC and produced by Rehage Entertainment. Essence Festivals LLC is a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI).


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