2008 Essence Music Festival

Musicians and music-lovers will be flocking to New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival on the weekend of 4 to 6 July 2008. This popular event, which is a celebration of black music and culture, is back in its home-town of New Orleans for the second time, after being displaced for a short while by the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

The 2008 Essence Music Festival will be paying tribute to the legendary Patti LaBelle whose successful career in the music industry spans four decades and whose humanitarian efforts are appreciated by many. Fans will recognize, as well as relate to, many of the hit songs from Patti LaBelle’s ten solo albums and six as a member of the group LaBelle. The Patti LaBelle tribute will take place on the main stage of the Louisiana Superdrome on the Saturday night of the festival. Performances by two of LaBelle’s original members, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, will be a highlight of the evening, which includes performances by Angie Stone, Ledisi, Chaka Khan, Ruby Amanfu, Chrisette Michelle and Irma Thomas.

President of Essence Communications, Michelle Ebanks, has emphasized that it is important to Essence to recognize icons within the African-American community and show appreciation for their music and art, which forms an integral part of black people’s culture.

In light of the fact that a large number of black children are being raised in single-parent households, Ebanks is determined to raise awareness of the necessity to ensure that these children overcome the challenges in the community to obtain the same levels of education, along with access to opportunities, as children all over America. With this in mind, in addition to the concerts at the Superdrome, the Essence Music Festival includes a series of empowerment seminars, many of which address family issues, by speakers including comedian/activist Bill Crosby, actress Keisha Knight Pulliam, the Reverend Al Sharpton and actor Tyler Perry.

Other artists that are on the Essence Music Festival program include Rihanna, J Holiday, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Musiq, LL Cool J, Jill Scott, Morris Day, Keyshia Cole, Chris Rock, Mary J Blige and Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly. Super-lounge performances include Terence Blanchard, Peabo Bryson, Mint Condition, Christian Scott, Irving Mayfield Jazz Orchestra, Solange Knowles, Cupid, Raheem Devaughn and Preservation Jazz Hall Band’s Gospel Revival.

Around 200,000 people attended the Essence Music Festival in 2007 and there is every reason to believe that the 2008 event will be better than ever – so be sure not to miss it!