Essence Music Festival Crowd Drops a Bit This Year

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Even though the party is still jumping the Essence Music Festival saw a decline in the number of people it was able to attract.  The four-day festival held in July brought in 413,000 people this year, down from 422,000 last year.  This drop is especially significant, considering that last year’s festival lasted for three days instead of four.

This was the 18th year for the festival, held in New Orleans at the Superdome.  The festival consists of empowerment seminars, concerts and community events.   Organizers also added a fourth day this year to market to the youth for tomorrow.  For the event, they brought in Diggy Simmons, the OMG Girlz and Roshon Fegan.   As far as adult celebrities that were brought in this year, many of them appealed to black women, including Chaka Khan, Trey Songz, Fantasia, and D’Angelo.

Essence is owned by Time Warner and some have said that the magazine has changed its style dramatically since being taken over by a major corporation.  The magazine was also embroiled in controversy earlier this year, when one of it’s white managing editors was discovered posting content on his Facebook page that was derogatory toward African Americans.   But while the magazine has seen its challenges, the festival has remained strong, serving as a primary bread winner for the magazine during a time when revenue from print media is on the decline.


  1. meemee

    July 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    That’s because the tickets are extremely too expensive. After airfare and hotel who can afford tickets to the concerts.

    • Dee

      July 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Single day tickets were not available for purchase until one month prior to the concert, forcing participants to buy overpriced 3-day passes. The complete line-up was sub-par and was not published timely. No one can close out the Essence Fest like MAZE featuring Frankie Beverly. So, please make amends and the crowd will follow. The City of New Orleans and Essence goers love MAZE.

      • c.scott

        July 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

        Yes sweeite you are right about the 3day passes, I never go to the show all 3 days, maybe two and thats pushing it. But the parties this year especially the what party, for Kevin Heart BANANAS.

  2. Lorri Holliday

    July 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve gone to the Essences Festival several times. I tried to go this year and the hotels were all booked up. If not, they wanted 300.00 a nite. That would have been maybe 1200.00 for the hotel room if not more. The flights were going for 400.00 and up. The passes to get in the concerts were 200.00 and up a night if you wanted to get a great seat. The total cost for the weekend was something like 2500.00 and that’s just for one person and that’s not including food etc. I use to be able to go for about 1500.00. I have no idea what happen. It appears to me that there is to many people trying to make money off of the Essences. All of these different organizations have made contracts with all of the businesses in New Orleans and we can’t get in not unless we go through them. It’s was fun but not worth it. I use to be able to make my own accommodations. Now it appears that I have to go through one of the organizationse and they are just to expensive. So, I will probably never attend again.

  3. Tee Tee

    July 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I went this year for the first and it will not be my last. Total cost for single airfare and hotel: $1076 and $130 for concert tickets. Hotels were sold out or blocked off until a few weeks prior to the event.

  4. C. Scott

    July 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I have went for the past six years in a row. Personally, if it is not Mary or Frankie I do not go to the show any way. But flight were super high,rooms to but who sleeps in New Orleans. I do not buy the magazine anymore because you can tell the editors and authors are completely different.

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