Essence Music Festival: The magic and the business behind this summer’s hottest ticket

The Essence Music Festival, taking place from July 4-7, will deliver its 19th installment this year. Featuring headlining performances by artists including Beyoncé, Maxwell, New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Brandy, Jill Scott, LL Cool J and Keyshia Cole, guests will also be treated to a series of high-profile speakers, parties and other vibrant happenings.

As the festival’s tagline goes, “There’s nothing like it!” It is, however, so much more than a giant party. Situated in the Big Easy, the yearly spectacle — also called the “Essence Fest” for short — has become one of the most anticipated music-themed destination events in America, recently being recognized by Advertising Age as one of the nation’s Top 10 Leading Brand Events. How does the team at Essence do it?

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Donovan X. Ramsey