The crowd is very different from other more glamorous getaway weekend. Essence Fest attendees are comprised of black professionals just looking to have a fun weekend in the midst of their busy lives. Whether it’s going to the concerts, seminars and/or just socializing people are there to enjoy themselves. There’s just not the baller and hoochie aspect seen rampantly at other events. Of course, some of that exists but it’s much more the exception rather than the rule. This creates what we have termed as the “all day happy hour” feel. This means drinks are flowing but more importantly, everyone is friendly – we have never seen a bad word between any groups of grown men. Folks usually go to happy hour to have a good time with their friends and whomever they meet. Essence Fest brings those same qualities with an all day vacation feel New Orleans style.
Of course there’s the tremendous combination of artists that Essence Fest brings out every year. Yeah there are other festivals and concerts but the combination of major artists and old school favorites is unmatched. Three consecutive nights of this is what really puts Essence Fest into the next stratosphere concert wise. The super lounges allow patrons to see even more of their favorites while adding an up close and personnel flavor.
What’s being way undersold by Essence Fest websites is the GREAT social atmosphere. All event weekends like all-star, super bowl, award shows, etc. have major parties. Many of these events have more glamorous and star-studded parties than Essence Fest. However, what makes Essence Fest unique socially is this all day happy hour feel. Essence Fest has parties too and folks will be busy getting it in – there are few “wall flowers” (folks that just stand around soaking up space) at Essence Fest.
New Orleans is the perfect host city for Essence Fest. New Orleans brings the all day happy hour feel out by providing tons vibrant spots with cheap drinks. The fact that you legally can walk the streets with your drink in hand and even walk in and out of establishments with a drink from another spot only adds to the atmosphere. New Orleans has great history and culture that jumps out in many ways but especially in the architecture and cuisine.
The proximity of everything really is great. Everything socially needed is in the French Quarter all of which is within walking distance. If you stay in a centrally located hotel, you can easily survive without a car or even taking a taxi. However, that does mean there’s a lot of walking so ladies please wear very comfortable shoes – heels are probably not a good daytime move. Lady Essence Fest vets we know strongly suggest flats during the day. The mass amount of people walking around in festive moods helps produce that all day happy hour feel that makes Essence Fest special.
We have seen many friendships began and blossomed at Essence Fest, even some of our own. The atmosphere Essence Fest generates reminds us of those first days of freshman year before classes started. There was such an easy to which everyone met each other and quickly became friends. Essence Fest brings a similar quality with a grown folk vacation feel. Patrons are from all over the country. You really have a true mix of area codes because no one area dominates the crowd. Essence Fest is a blend of many ingredients that forms a great cuisine.