Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, John Legend among other revered music stars will headline next year’s Essence Festival to be held in New Orleans.
On Thursday, Essence announced the initial lineup for the 2017 Essence Festival Concert Series in New Orleans, including headlines Diana Ross and Mary J. Blige, The Grio states.
“This year’s Festival lineup puts women at the forefront of an incredible weekend of entertainment featuring more than 40 of the world’s most gifted artists and performers,” said Essence President Michelle Ebanks.
“It is an honor to welcome the inimitable Diana Ross to the Festival for the first time. Plus, Festival veteran Mary J. Blige is back to share ‘Strength of a Woman’ with her most passionate fans.”
— ESSENCE (@Essence) December 15, 2016
Over 40 acts will take place over the 3-day festival, with five stages booked for the many performances.
The confirmed performers include the following: Diana Ross, Mary J Blige, Chaka Khan, Doug E Fresh, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Jazmine Sullivan, John Legend, June’s Diary, Lalah Hathaway, Lizzo, Master P, Michel’le, Moses Sumney, Ro James, Shaggy, Sir the Baptist, Solange, Teyana Taylor, The Jones Girls Feat. Shirley Jones, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tweet and Yuna.
The festival, which is the 23rd annual event, will take place June 30-July 2, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. CT.
Weekend ticket packages for the 2017 Essence Festival, presented by Coca-Cola, go on sale on Dec. 16. For more information, visit essence.com.
— Rushion McDonald (@RushionMcDonald) December 17, 2016
Also joining the aforementioned acts at the 2017 Essence Festival thus far are:
Doug E. Fresh
Sir the Baptist
The Jones Girls featuring Shirley Jones
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
The strong 2017 lineup promises not only Ross’ debut, but a heavy focus on soul- and R&B-driven Main Stage performances, a side-step away from recent years that have also included major pop and rap names like Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce and Prince, NOLA reports.
Several notable returns include Chaka Khan, whose last big performance here was for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2014, and New Orleans resident Solange. The R&B singer scored her first No. 1 record this year with “A Seat at the Table,” a beautiful series of tracks that were partially recorded here. She hasn’t yet toured in support of the project.
Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Sir the Baptist will each have performed in New Orleans fairly recently by the time they hit the Essence Fest stage in the summer. Blige co-headlined the Smoothie King Center on Dec. 1 with Maxwell. As for Legend, he will offer a medley performance during the NBA All-Star Game in February, and Chicago rapper Sir the Baptist performed at Voodoo Fest 2016.
Notably absent on the lineup so far: Charlie Wilson, who performed at Essence for every year between 2009 and 2016.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) December 15, 2016
In addition to the three nights of big performances in the Superdome, Essence Magazine’s flagship event also brings a series of workshops, seminars, screenings and panel discussions centered on empowerment and cultural discussion to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Those daytime events which in 2016 featured Oprah for the first time in Essence Fest’s 23-year history are free and open to the public.
The nighttime performances, however, are ticketed, and weekend packages will go on sale Friday (Dec. 16) at 10 a.m. with prices starting at $126, plus applicable fees, through TicketMaster.
The Essence Festival is another widely known and acknowledged event which appreciates Black talents especially in the music industry. It is important we recognize and celebrate Black excellence, hence giving Black people the opportunity to display their exceptional endowment to the world.