The Best Essence Fest Parties To Hit Up This Weekend

There's quite a few Essence-esque places to get into trouble this weekend, if you want to leave the Superdome.

by Alex Galbraith
July 5, 2018

Given the sheer size of the Essence Festival, it can be easy to think that the official events of Essence are the only game in town this weekend. But there’s plenty of not-quite-sponsored events going down around Essence that are guaranteed to be just as lit.

We’ve already pointed out a few of them in our best bets and free things showcases, but we’re all about knowing our options here at VL. With that in mind, we’ve collected a few more of our faves if you feel the need to step away from the ‘dome at any point this weekend.

Essence of Indie

Essence Festival, Essence Fest 2018, Essence 2018, The Howlin Wolf, Essence of Indie
Essence of Indie showcases local acts across three days at The Howlin’ Wolf.

The Howlin’ Wolf’s annual Essence-adjacent throwdown highlights local acts for the out-of-towners to get smart about. The three-day mini-fest will include performances by Albert Banks, Denisia, A. Levy and Maxx Painn, among others.

Where: The Howlin’ Wolf, 907 S. Peters St.
When: July 6-8
Cost: $10 per day

Damn That DJ Made My Day Party














NOLA legend Mannie Fresh hosts a day party at the House of Blues that runs from the afternoon into the early evening.

Where: House of Blues, 225 Decatur St.
When: July 7, 2-8 p.m.
Cost: $35

Questlove & DJ Soul Sister

The Roots’ drummer, author and all around renaissance man is back to flex his knowledge of funk and soul records for an eager Essence crowd. He’s joined by our very own vinyl-loving party starter DJ Soul Sister in a set that doesn’t kick off until the wee small hours.

Where: Tipitinas, 501 Napoleon Ave.
When: July 7, 2 a.m.
Cost: $37+

The White Party

A casual all-white affair at one of Bourbon’s least casual clubs. Allow yourself a mini-excursion to this typically touristy spot to party with all the well-dressed visitors.

Where: Razzoo Bar & Patio, 511 Bourbon St.
When: July 6, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Cost: Free

50 Shades Of Black

Love & Hip Hop’s Karly Redd hosts this Who Dat-ed out masquerade for Essence attendees. The party goes down on Friday night with help from Q Parker of 112 and Twista. It’s a masquerade, so brush off your bird masks and make sure to follow the Black n’ Gold dress code.

Where: Sheraton New Orleans, 500 Canal St.
When: July 6, 10 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Cost: $45+

The Influencer Lounge

Of course, Essence is about partying and music. But it’s also about connections and empowerment. This relaxed day party on Saturday is a great way to get in touch with movers and shakers and come away from Essence with more than a hangover.

Where: Auction House Market, 801 Magazine St.
When: July 7, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost: Free with RSVP

Rock The Boat

The annual all-white boat ride was so popular this year that the organizers decided to throw two. The first boat ride sold out all the way back in the winter time but a second ride has been added on Friday afternoon.

Where: Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, 1 Poydras St.
When: July 6, 2:30-5:30 p.m.
Cost: $60+

Decades! Day Party

For those who couldn’t stay up to see Questlove and Soul Sister at Tip’s, there’s this day party on Sunday afternoon featuring Doug E. Fresh and DJ RQ Away

Where: House of Blues, 225 Decatur St.
When: July 8, 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $13

The Fest Finale

This is the only party guaranteed to feature Ms. Jackson (cuz we’re nasty). DJ Chill and Go DJ Bobby will keep the dancefloor going as you try and catch a glimpse of the legend herself on Essence’s last night.

Where: Republic NOLA, 828 S. Peters St.
When: July 8, 9 p.m.- late
Cost: $80+

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