The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Essence Festival 2024

The 30th Essence Festival will be like no other. From seminars and expos to music performances and outdoor markets, you’re bound to have an unforgettable time exploring black culture and community. But before you go, it’s essential to read this survival guide, where we cover all you need to know to make the most of the occasion. 

When and Where is the 2024 Essence Festival?  

Per the Essence website, this year’s Essence Festival will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from July 4-7. But it’s not held in one main area – the larger events will be at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and concerts will take place at the iconic Caesar’s Superdome. For a brief explanation of what to expect at the festival, read this page on the New Orleans website.  

Essence Festival Transportation Options 

Transportation is a sore spot for Essence festival goers because New Orleans traffic is known to be insane during the Essence festival. So, the less driving you do yourself, the better your experience may be. Considering that, there are ridesharing options with Uber or Lyft and local public transportation. And if you’re traveling by plane, look into your shuttle options (the ride may be complimentary).   

If you will be taking your own car, check ahead to scope out parking. All it takes is a phone call.  

What’s Happening at the Essence Festival in 2024?  

As the festival draws near, many people are wondering what to expect and who’ll be on the Essence Festival 2024 lineup. Unfortunately, Essence Festival organizers are keeping most of this information under lock and key.  

What we do know is that Birdman and friends will be there celebrating 30 years of Cash Money Millionaires. The following festival events will also be happening over the four days:  

  • Essence Afropunk After Dark  
  • Essence Afropunk Blktopia 
  • Essence Authors  
  • Essence Community Impact Hub 
  • Essence Evening Concert Series  
  • Essence The Essence Film Festival 
  • Essence Food and Wine Festival  
  • Essence GU Creators House  
  • Essence GU Kickback  
  • Essence GBEF HQ 
  • Essence Hollywood House  
  • Essence House  
  • Essence New Voices Village  
  • Essence Stage 
  • Essence Wellness House  
  • Essence Suede: Men’s Experience  

 You can find more information about the Essence Festival in the E360 app, available on the App Store and Google Play.  


Essence Festival Accommodations 

Where will you be staying while enjoying the festivities? It all depends on your personal preferences. There are plenty of hotels around the festival venues, including the Ace Hotel New Orleans, Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, and the NOPSI Hotel New Orleans. If you’re not into hotels, try an Airbnb, camp at a nearby campground, or choose a motel.  

How to Stay Safe at the Essence Festival 

Going to an Essence Festival isn’t the most dangerous thing in the world by far, but things could still go wrong, especially during extended music performances in cramped quarters. Here are some tips to help you stay safe at the Essence Festival:  

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings. You never know what could happen from one second to the next. If you see that something’s awry – don’t ignore it. Say something to the nearest authority figure after securing your own safety.  
  2. Keep some water on hand and stay cool. It gets swelteringly hot in Louisiana in July. Pack bottles of water, a personal fan, or some Gatorade. And if you start to feel dehydrated, don’t wait – find some water immediately.  
  3. Protect your skin. Whether you’re a person of color or not, your skin needs protection from the Louisiana sun. So, grab your sunscreen and keep it on hand. You’ll need a new layer every 2 hours you spend in the sun.  
  4. Guard against germs. When you’re taking in the sights, food, and fun at the Essence Festival, you may not be thinking about germs in the least. But they’re still there! To reduce your chances of picking up a bug at the festival, keep some sanitizer on hand, and wash your hands before enjoying your festival eats.  
  5. Scope out the exits. If you need to get out fast, it’s always good to be aware of the exits.  
  6. Practice drinking safety. Try not to overdrink, and don’t take any drinks from others. It’s equally important to keep track of your drink and to never leave it unattended.  
  7. Go with someone else. Going to an event like the Essence Festival alone isn’t the best idea. We urge you to go with someone else if you can. You can protect each other.   
  8. Use earplugs around loud music. The Essence Festival isn’t all about music, but you’ll need earplugs for the musical performances. The loud music you’ll be enjoying can damage your hearing.  

Ways to Keep Pick Pocketers from Stealing Your Belongings 

Pickpocketers are notorious at large events - especially concerts, which are a big part of the Essence Festival. If you want to keep your hands on your belongings, keep the following advice in mind:  

  • Keep your things close to you, and don’t flash them at others.  
  • Store your things in multiple pockets so that if someone steals from you, they won’t swipe all your things in one go.  
  • Wear clothes that aren’t easy to steal from. Companies sell clothes designed specifically to make your belongings hard to steal.  
  • Don’t use large backpacks for storage. They are very easy to swipe. Smaller containers and backpacks are much better for deterring pickpocketers.  
  • Keep your distance from those you don’t know.  

How to Get Close to the Stage to See Your Favorite Artist 

Most of the events associated with the Essence Festival are free. So, there’s no way to pay for priority seating at these events. Most of the time, you’ll have to get there as early as possible to get a good seat.  

But when it comes to the night concerts, you can pay for the priority seating to get you closer to the stage. Three-day concert tickets range from $174 to $1836.  

Have a Ball at the Essence Festival!  

So, there you have it - the Essence Festival survival tips everyone needs. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we hope you have a blast at this year’s Essence Festival.  

Caesars Superdome. (n.d.).  

ESSENCE Festival Of Culture - New Orleans - New Orleans & Company. (n.d.).  

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. (n.d.).  

Sumner, V. (2024, May 5). 30th Essence Festival of Culture presented by Coca-Cola. Essence.  

Ticketmaster US. (n.d.).  



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