It’s Official: Due to COVID-19, There Won’t be a 2020 ESSENCE Festival


In the midst of America’s ability to cope with the deadly COVID-19 disease outbreak affecting states and cities across the country, entertainment venues and major event planners have had to deal with massive losses.

One of the most unfortunate cases of a major black-owned entity taking a loss in today’s dreary economic climate is ESSENCE Magazine. Last year, the upscale culture and entertainment publication for black women celebrated its 25th annual ESSENCE Music Festival in New Orleans, Lousiana.

Like it does every year, the star-studded event featured live music performances by some of the greatest artists in black music. There were also business panel discussions held by successful black female entrepreneurs who have been trailblazers in their respective industries.

However, on Wednesday (April 15), ESSENCE made a sad announcement about the fate of its preeminently scheduled 2020 event.

“New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell bravely recommended yesterday that no large events take place in New Orleans in 2020, and ESSENCE fully supports that decision,” wrote ESSENCE writer Rachaell Davis in a memo published on the magazine’s website.

“After continued monitoring of the evolving developments in the COVID-19 global pandemic and remaining in close contact and collaboration with our partners in the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana, we are confirming today that we will no longer move forward with the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture live experience—and look forward to returning to New Orleans in 2021,” she also wrote.

Mayor Cantrell also released a statement, which expressed her admiration for the ESSENCE brand. She also touched on how the magazine has been a great strategic partner of the New Orleans community.

“ESSENCE and the City of New Orleans have a partnership that thrives in good times and is made even stronger in challenging times. We share an uncompromised commitment to the best interest of our local community and our tourist community, and the priorities right now are providing support to those who have been affected by the disproportionate impact of the pandemic here in New Orleans,” she said.

However, on the bright side, ESSENCE will hold a major virtual event over this year’s Fourth of July holiday. All those who bought tickets to this year’s ESSENCE Festival were given full refunds, Davis also said.