2007 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL 'COMING HOME' TO NEW ORLEANS JULY 5, 6, 7 -- 010/24/2006
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2006
2007 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL 'COMING HOME' TO NEW ORLEANS JULY 5, 6, 7
13th Annual Festival Renowned as Nation's Largest Annual Celebration of Black Music and Culture
New York, NY - The Essence Music Festival, the nation's largest annual African-American event celebrating Black music and culture, is 'Coming Home' to New Orleans on July 5-7, 2007 to present the biggest names in entertainment for three nights of exhilarating performances, it was announced today by Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. and Mitch Landrieu, Lt. Governor, State of Louisiana.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray, and ESSENCE Editorial Director Susan L. Taylor were also on hand to commemorate the agreement.
The announcement marks the return of the 13th annual Festival to its original home, since relocating temporarily to Houston in 2006 following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The homecoming of the world renowned "party with a purpose" is expected to bring more than 200,000 visitors to the City of New Orleans and will benefit the local and state economy; including businesses that employ local residents - many of which are still in recovery post-Katrina.
"ESSENCE is proud to join with the State of Louisiana in support of the City of New Orleans and bring the Essence Music Festival back home, where Festivalgoers can once again experience the richness of New Orleans' culture--including distinctive music, traditions, and cuisine celebrated with old-fashioned southern hospitality," said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. "Continuing the longstanding tradition of outstanding music, culture and community, the Essence Music Festival's return to New Orleans in 2007 is not to be missed!"
The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Center Bureau will serve as the host organization for the 2007 Essence Music Festival.
The newly-restored Louisiana Superdome will host three fantastic nights of live performances by the biggest names in entertainment, and during the day, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will house the free and open-to-the-public Essence Cares Empowerment Seminars, as well as the popular Essence Marketplace.
"The Essence Music Festival is coming home. Essence's return to Louisiana sends the signal to the world that we are back in business," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "This major event, which attracts over 200,000 visitors each year, will be a shot in the arm for our economy and the thousands of small businesses and employers that rely on tourists."
Landrieu added, "I would like to thank the Essence Host Committee - without their hard work and determination we could not have brought Essence back to Louisiana in 2007."
The Essence Host Committee was formed by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and includes: Angele Davis, Secretary, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism; Steven Perry, President/ CEO, New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau; Doug Thornton, Regional Vice President, SMG; Sandy Shilstone, President/ CEO, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; Bill Langkopp, Executive Vice President, Louisiana Hotel and Lodging Association; and Toni Rice, President, Multicultural Tourism Network.
HISTORY OF THE ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL:
The Essence Music Festival started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine. Now the Festival, which is known as "the party with a purpose," is the nation's largest annual African-American event and gathering of musical talent.
From 1995 to 2005, the Essence Music Festival added over $1 billion to Louisiana's economy with combined attendance of over 2 million people. A multigenerational event, the Essence Music Festival has become a destination of choice for families and friends as they schedule their reunions.
The Essence Music Festival has featured a host of legendary performers over the years, including Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Kanye West, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle, and Yolanda Adams, to name a few.
People travel from all over the world to attend the Essence Music Festival, and the celebrity acts who grace the Essence Music Festival stage find the experience to be like no other.
Commented Beyoncé Knowles after performing with Destiny's Child in 2005: "All the people in the audience are just ready to have a good time. They're all so soulful and beautiful, and have such great spirits. It's always so positive…you can bring your family…and it's good music. We're always amongst other great artists that we're excited to see. And it's nice just to have something for our people."
Added Lionel Richie post performance that same year: "Every black person I've ever known in my life has come to this show. So, it's like a family reunion. It's a college reunion. It's my high school reunion. It's the Commodores reunion. It is absolutely amazing! I have just enjoyed the fact that I am home."
Look out for the December 2006 issue of ESSENCE magazine or log on to www.essence.com for updates on tickets, performers, and hotel accommodations, as well as weekly promotions.
The 2007 Essence Music Festival is produced by Essence Festivals LLC in association with Festival Productions Inc. and AEG Live. Essence Festivals LLC is a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI). ECI is also the publisher of ESSENCE magazine. ESSENCE, after 36 years, continues to be the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women.