Complete Guide to Essence Festival

It’s that time of year again – Essence Festival! Happening every year during 4th of July weekend, Essence brings people from all over to New Orleans for a good time. For everyone traveling from out of town, and locals looking to know what’s going on, I give you the complete guide to Essence Festival 2018.

Thursday, July 5

Shea Moisture Pop-Up


Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel

700 Tchoupitoulas St.

Shea Moisture will be hosting events all weekend Thursday-Sunday. Events include morning yoga, panels, happy hour and more. View the full schedule and RSVP here.

Women’s Empowerment Cocktail Reception

NOPSI Hotel, New Orleans

317 Baronne Street

Special guest Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Register for free (waitlist) here.

Ultimate Rooftop Tour


Hot Tin

2031 St. Charles Ave.

Sponsored by Coors Light and Jack Daniels, the Ultimate Rooftop Tour is hosting events all weekend as well at various venues across the city. Thursday evening’s event takes place at Hot Tin, the rooftop bar at the top of the Ponchartrain Hotel. Free RSVP here.

Essence Kickoff at Barcadia


Represent where you’re from by wearing something from your city at the Welcome to New Orleans Kickoff at Barcadia. This restaurant/ bar/ arcade is located in the WareHouse District at 600 Tchoupitoulas St. near Harrah’s casino. RSVP here.

Festival Weekend Takeover

Metropolitan Nightclub

All weekend, HereWeGo Ent. is bringing you celebrity hosted events at Metro. Thursday night’s Welcome to New Orleans kickoff in honor of Congressman Cedric Richmond features entertainment by Doug E. Fresh. Full weekend lineup and ticket info here.

Friday, July 6

Essence Conferences & Expo

Convention Center

Shopping, food, beauty, entertainment – the Essence Festival Expo has it all. All weekend, the free Essence Seminars happen at the Convention Center. New for this year, you have to register (free) and receive a QR code for entry. Friday’s schedule includes appearances by Ella Mai, Ne-Yo, Vivica Fox and many more. For full day’s schedule and more information, click here.


Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel
700 Tchoupitoulas Street

Full Shea Moisture event schedule and RSVP here.

400 Degreez Day Party



519 Fulton St

400 Degreez 20th anniversary day party hosted by Juvenile and DJ Mannie Fresh. Ticket info here.

Essence Music Festival

6:30 pm

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

With all the other events surrounding this famous weekend, when you hear “Essence Fest” the concert is the actual event that refers to. Friday night’s main stage performers: Ledisi @ 7pm, Miguel @ 7:45 pm, Snoop Dogg @ 9pm and Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and The Roots @ 10pm. Superlounge performances by Lloyd, H.E.R., Kelly Price, MC Lyte and more. Concert tickets here.

All White Exclusive


Metropolitan Nightclub

Another HereWeGo Ent event. All white party hosted by Snoop Dogg, Queen Sugar’s Kofi Siriboe and Kenny Burns. Ticket info here.

Welcome to New Orleans

Masquerade (inside Harrah’s casino)

A Larry Morrow event hosted by Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara, Rotimi, Jason Mitchell, Angela Yee and DJ Envy. Tickets here.

Saturday, July 7

Essence Fest Expo

Convention Center

The expo continues Saturday with appearances from the casts of “Claws”, “Black Monday” “Power” and “Insecure”, keynote address from Al Sharpton, a “Power” screening, fashion presentations, workouts, performances and much more. Free registration here. Full schedule here.

New Orleans Natural Hair Expo


Contemporary Arts Center

900 Camp St

This expo presented by ORS Curls Unleashed will feature workshops, demos, blogger panels and more. Ticket information here.

Essence Festival E-Suite

10am (Saturday)-5pm (Sunday)

Entrepreneur’s Row at the International House
220 Camp Street

An official Essence event. The E-Suite takes place on both Saturday and Sunday. This exclusive gathering for entrepreneurs and career driven women features speakers including Karen Civil, MC Lyte and many, many more. Tickets and more information here.

Beards and Babes


Fascio Hair

526 Gravier St

Pop up grooming suite by @blackmenwithbeards featuring mini beard facials and also brow sculpting and lash application for the ladies. Free registration here.

Influencer Lounge


Auction House Market

801 Magazine Street

Connect, collaborate and vibe with likeminded professionals, brands and influencers. This event features music, food and cocktails. Free registration here.



Masquerade (inside Harrah’s Casino)

Ticket info here.

Hip Hop Legends Day Party



519 Fulton St.

30 years of hip hop day party hosted by Biz Markie and Doug E. Fresh. Ticket info here.

THE Day Party


Barcadia 601 Tchoupitoulas St.

Put on by @nolakoolkids this day party takes over all three rooms of Barcadia and features two DJs. Ticket info here.

Essence Music Festival

6:00 pm

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Tonight’s main stage performers include Roy Wood Jr @ 6pm, Doug E. Fresh with V. Bozeman @ 7pm, XSCAPE @ 7:45pm, Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First” featuring Missy Elliott, Remy Ma and MC Lyte, @ 8:40pm and Mary J.Blige @ 10pm. Superlounge performers include Ella Mai, Jussie Smollett, Daniel Caesar, Idris Alba and more. Concert tickets here.

90s Party


The Revolution

1840 Thalia St

Hosted by Martin’s Tischa Campbell and Tichina Arnold. Ticket info here.

Art of Luxury Black & White Affair


Metropolitan Nightclub

You guessed it, another celebrity hosted event by HereWeGo Ent. The Black & White Affair is hosted by Michael B. Jordan and Lance Gross. Tickets here.

All Black Experience

Masquerade (inside Harrah’s casino)

A Larry Morrow event hosted by Mary J. Blige and Floyd Mayweather. Tickets here.

Sunday, July 8

Essence Fest Expo

Convention Center

The final day of the Expo features the annual Gospel Tribute, cast of the new Bobby Brown story, screenings, performances, celebrity interviews, a fashion show and much more. Full details here.

Brunch, Booze & Beatz Day Party

noon-8:30 pm


601 Tchoupitoulas St.

Bruch, lunch and bottles available. Event by @herewegoent. Free RSVP here.

Henny & Waffles Brunch and Day Party


The Carver Theater 

2101 Orleans Ave

Come for the food, stay for the turn up. This brunch and day party features a buffet menu, Hennessy drink specials and unlimited mimosas. Free day party RSVP, menu and more info here.

Day Fever


Masquerade (inside Harrah’s Casino)

A Larry Morrow event. Album release party hosted by Teyana Taylor. Tickets here.

Exhibit Gray x Glasshouse Day Party


New Orleans Jazz Market

1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

Art exhibition and live music with sounds provided by Bryan-Michael Cox. Free RSVP and info here.

Hangover Day Party


Eiffel Society

 2040 St. Charles Ave

Buffet. Drinks. Music. Pop Up Shop.  All in one place. The Hangover Day  features drink specials and swag from Jack Daniels Honey and Blue Moon. 21+ to enter, and attire is stylish day wear. RSVP and more info here.

Essence Music Festival

6:30 pm

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Tonight’s headliner:  JANET JACKSON! Other main stage artists: Roy Wood, Jr, Doug E. Fresh with Ashanti, and Fantasia. Also performing: DJ Jubilee, Ro James, Louis York and Big Freedia in the Superlounges. Tickets for Sunday night’s concert here.

Ultimate Rooftop Tour



1600 Canal St

RSVP here.

All Black Everything

Metropolitan Nightclub


Hosted by Young Jeezy and Kenny Burns. Ticket info here.

Have a very safe and fun Essence Fest weekend. Enjoy New Orleans!

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