The 2020 Essence Fest has been cancelled after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recommended that no large events take place in the city for the remainder of the year.
“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 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,” festival organizers announced on Wednesday (April 15).
Ticket holders will be offered full refunds.
In place of the annual music and wellness event, Essence will host its first-ever virtual festival over July Fourth weekend. The multi-day extravaganza doubles as a benefit celebration and will extend the festival experience to communities around the globe offering up interactive and “live opportunities to be inspired,” and entertained. The virtual festival will be coupled with a benefit celebration honoring the Big Easy, which has been home to the Essence Festival for 26 years.
“ESSENCE and the City of New Orleans have a partnership that thrives in good times and is made even stronger in challenging times,” said Mayor Cantrell. “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 and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our great city in 2021 for the return of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture and to once again helping to create such an unmatched and magical experience.”
Over the last month, New Orleans has confirmed more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19, the brunt of which are centered in Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish. In an effort to curb the spread, Mayor Cantrell extended the city’s stay-home order until May 16.