Ok so this post is loooong overdue but I wanted to give a recap on my Essence Festival experience. This was my fourth time traveling to NOLA for the festival and I had just as much fun this time around as I did in 2007 when I went for the first time. If you love music, food, being around people, and having a good time than you have to at least make a trip to the Essence Festival once in your lifetime. From concerts to celebrities, contests to seminars, giveaways, food, shopping, and the night life; there’s a little something for everyone to do whether young or older. The weekend of festivities kicked off on the 4th of July with the first annual “Family Reunion Day” at Woldenberg Park. The day was filled with free live musical performances and the night ended with a fireworks show. My favorite performances were from Biz Markie, Cupid, and Tweet. Tweet has been off of the music scene for a minute so it was good to see her doing her thing and making new music, and might I add she looked GREAT. Note to self for next year: be sure to bring sunscreen, water, a lawn chair and an umbrella to shield the sun and for just in case it rains, which it did but a little rain didn’t stop the show. Standing up for hours in the sun was draining but we still had a great time.
It seemed like everyone and their mama went to see Beyonce perform at the concert on Sunday night at the Superdome, but I decided to go to the Friday night show to see Brandy, LL Cool J, Jill Scott and Maxwell. No shade to Bey, she’s an amazing entertainer; I actually saw her perform at the Essence Festival in 2007. This was my first time seeing any of the other artists perform live and they all did a great job, but they saved the best performance for last because Maxwell stole the show. He was the highlight of the night for me. There is just something about the way that man can hit a high note! ;-)
On Saturday night me and my girls hit up a party at the Metropolitan hosted by Biz Markie and Letoya Luckett. I spent most of the day Saturday and Sunday at the convention center checking out the vendors and some of the seminars. What I like the most about going to the convention center is that you never know what celebrities you’re going to see. This year I got a chance to see Lance Gross, Laz Alonzo, Trey Songz, TGT (Tank, Ginuwine, Tyrese), and a few others. I was also able to take a picture with one of my favorite female R&B singers, Chrisette Michelle (she is gorgeous in person by the way). We ended the Essence Festival right with an incredible performance by Fantasia on Sunday at the convention center. This was my first time seeing her perform live, and for her show to be free, she shut it down. I think she had one of the best performances overall. Just some advice for any first time Essence festival goers (specifically the ladies), expect to do A LOT of walking!! I learned the hard way the first year I went when I wore heels during the day. It might help to plan out exactly what you want to do before you get there. There is soooooo much to see and do that it can become very overwhelming. Even though I did a lot, there was a lot more that I didn’t get a chance to do. Overall I wasn’t disappointed; I always enjoy myself at the festival. Check out my highlights below from the 2013 Essence Festival and my tips for first time goers!
Biz Markie @ the Metropolitan
Essence Festival Quick Tips:
1) Book your hotel early if you’re planning on staying in New Orleans. People tend to book months in advance
2) Ladies flats and sandals will become your best friend
3) If you’re planning on attending any of the concerts, try to get to the Superdome early. The traffic is ridiculous!
4) Try to get a schedule of events so that you can stay in the loop of what all is going on. You can normally find one on the Essence website or you can even download the app.
Laz Alonzo, Brian White, Darrin Henson