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New York, U.S.A. - Every year over 400,000 people from around the world descend upon New Orleans for the only music festival that offers show-stopping performances from top entertainers, free inspiring and empowering conversations and messages from the world’s leading innovators, leaders, and thinkers, plus four days of family and cultural experiences: the Essence Music Festival. This year, in its 18th year anniversary, the 2012 Essence Musical Festival presents a newly expanded four day weekend celebrating the “Power of Our Voice” on July 5, 6, 7 and 8 with compelling programming featuring the biggest names in entertainment and the nation’s most influential speakers, artists, authors and educators.
The 2012 Essence Music Festival will once again offer a world class musical line up which includes the legendary Aretha Franklin , Mary J. Blige , Charlie Wilson , Trey Songz, Kevin Hart, Ledisi, Eve,Marsha Ambrosius and more. The line-up also includes the return of Grammy-Award winning singerD’Angelo to the Festival; the newly added Anthony Hamilton, who will thrill his fans from The Superdome’s main stage for the first time; R&B and soul music king and ESSENCE Music Festival stapleCharlie Wilson who will close out the main stage on Friday night; popular gospel duo Mary Mary who will perform on Saturday (changed from Friday); and Leah LaBelle who has been announced to perform at the SuperLounge. The official host each night will be Nephew Tommy, comedian and co-host of the Steve Harvey Morning Show. As an added bonus, celebrated media personality Steve Harvey himself will take the stage on Sunday for a special tribute to the one and only Aretha Franklin.
Other highlights include:
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, Beyoncé, 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 andYolanda Adams and more.