NEW ORLEANS — Thursday evening in New Orleans was the calm before the musical storm.
The 20th Annual Essence Music Festival will detonate with a torrential downpour of sounds on Friday, July 4, featuring living legend Prince headlining the first night of its three days of concerts at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. This will be ‘His Purple Highness’ second appearance at the Essence Music Festival.
Thursday, however, was the official beginning of the Essence Fest 2014 with “Family Day” of music, food and activities at Woldenberg Park, beginning at 11 a.m. Celebrities were already posted up thick at what is billed as the largest music festival for African Americans in the world, including Gabrielle Union (below), Kandi Burruss, Todd Tucker, hip hop legend Nas and others spotted throughout the park and festivities.
Leaders in education, business, government and the arts will converge on the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to participate in seminars and workshops under the umbrella theme “The Essence Empowerment Experience.” All events on Family Day and at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center are free and open to the public.
The Essence Empowerment Experience features many civic leaders like Rep. Maxine Waters and Marc Morial, former mayor of New Orleans and president of the National Urban League, as well as television news anchor, author and journalist Cheryl Wills and the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network.
The “Empower U” workshop series offers sessions on healthy living.
For those who are here in attendance, get your rest because Friday is when the intensity of this 4th of July weekend party gets ratcheted up to extremely high levels. Take a look at some of the highlights of the official opening of the 2014 Essence Music Festival.
(Photos: Jonell Media PR and Instagram)