The 2020 Essence Festival is being postponed and moved “closer to the fall” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Louisiana, organizers announced Friday on their website.
It’s the latest festival change in the New Orleans area as COVID-19 cases in the state swelled to 2,746 with 119 deaths, with the highest concentration in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
Essence Communications Inc., the festival’s parent company, said the decision was made to move the five-day multifaceted event from its original July 1-5 schedule “based on developments over the past couple of weeks, including updates from our city and health partners.”
Previously announced talent, which includes headliners Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars, will remain on the lineup for the postponed dates, and tickets sold for the originally scheduled performances will still be honored on the new dates.
New dates for the festival will be announced “shortly.”
The 26th edition of the Essence Fest is set to include two extra days of activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary year of Essence magazine, along with the annual three-night evening concert series in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tens of thousands of attendees fill the Morial Convention Center for free daytime activities that include panel discussions and product presentations.
Essence Fest organizers previously said they intended to move forward with the July 1-5 timeframe, but also said they were already looking to identify and secure alternate dates.