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20th anniversary ESSENCE Festival largest ever with more than 550,000 attendees

(July 7, 2014) The ESSENCE Festival wrapped up its 20th anniversary in New Orleans with a record-breaking 550,000 attendees over the Fourth of July weekend. The annual four-day event featured entertainment, empowerment forums, and cultural experiences during the day and the world's best performers each night. More than 80 performing artists appeared on stage including Prince, Mary J. Blige, and Lionel Richie. Some 150 speakers participated in panel discussions including Robin Roberts, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton.

The ESSENCE Festival has become the place where we come together to revel in culture and connect to our community," said ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks. "In recognition of our 20 year milestone, we are tremendously proud to have offered more curated content than ever before.”

This year’s ESSENCE Festival was the most expansive to date. Those who were not able to travel to New Orleans were able to take part via livestreams of more than a dozen hours of content. Social media garnered nearly 60,000 tweets using the hashtag #ESSENCEFest, and generated well over 20,000 downloads of the Festival's customized App. For a second consecutive year, MSNBC hosted live coverage from the convention center floor.

Sponsors of the 20th Anniversary ESSENCE Festival include presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and major sponsors Ford, McDonald's, My Black Is Beautiful, StateFarm, Verizon and Walmart.  Superlounge sponsors include Coca-Cola, Ford and Verizon.


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