Essence Festival of Culture 2020 goes virtual for two-weekends

One of the biggest festivals in New Orleans has gone virtual for 2020.

by Clint Durrett
June 30, 2020

One of the biggest festivals in New Orleans has gone virtual for 2020.

In lieu of massive crowds filling the Ernest N Morial Convention Center and Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Essence Festival of Culture will gather scores of people online for its event celebrating “music, entertainment, empowerment and culture.”

Virtual events begin at 4 p.m. June 25-28 and July 2-5.

The festival canceled its July 2020 event, which has been held in New Orleans since 1995 and drawn tens of thousands of attendees to the city. According to Essence, the festival is expected to return to the Crescent City next year.

“The Essence Festival of Culture: Unstoppable Virtual Experience” features live-streaming events with music, talks and wellness experiences.

Here’s what to know and when things are happening:

How do I access?

Go to Essence Studio and create an Essence ID to RSVP to the events.

When are the events?

June 25 | July 2 Wellness House: 4 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

  • Meditation, conversations, workouts, tutorials to boost mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

June 27 | July 4

  • Pre-Show: 5 p.m.
    Q&A with Hollywood faves, sneak peeks at upcoming releases.
  • Concerts: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    Artists include: Amanda Black, Andra Day, Bell Biv Devoe, Bruno Mars, Burna Boy, Chronixx, Common, Damian Marley, Diamond Platnumz, Doug E. Fresh, Elephant Man, Estelle, India Arie, John Legend, Ledisi, Nas, Patti Labelle Raphael Saadiq, Rapsody, Sauti Sol, Shaggy, Swizz Beatz and Wyclef.

June 27 | July 4 Seminars and Talks

  • 12:30 p.m.: Wealth & Power seminars
    Get information on “making strides in entrepreneurship, career and personal finance.” The seminars also include information on the 2020 candidates and current issues.
  • 4 p.m.: Beauty Carnival
    Live tutorials and expert tops on “accentuating your own flawless beauty.”

June 28 | July 5 Gospel Sunday: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

  • Sunday worship and gospel performances.


Hi. I’m Clint. I’m the Local Market Manager for Very Local New Orleans. I’ve lived in New Orleans since 2001 and been living my best life in this rad place since that year. I have 10 years of broadcast journalism and digital media experience. Before Very Local New Orleans, I worked for WDSU-TV – producing, product developing, digital media managing– I’ve done it all. I’ve seen first-hand the trials we’ve suffered in this city and the celebrations we’ve enjoyed. I love New Orleans. It’s home. I’m going to work my hardest to bring you the content and experiences you care...

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