The 19th annual Essence Music Festival, the largest African American-based music event in the world that attracts more than a half-million people into the Crescent City, is set to take place in New Orleans July 4-7, 2013. In addition to big-name musical acts, Essence Fest is also famous for offering cultural and community programs

This year, however, Essence Fest organizers are also offering programming and events promoting healthy living, job assistance, and free family activities.

“The decision to rebrand the Essence Festival was a natural progression for this one-of-a-kind event, which has become a July 4th weekend tradition over the past 19 years,” says Michelle Ebanks, Essence Communications president.

“The Essence Festival combines music, entertainment, culture, community, empowerment and inspiration to create a completely transformative experience across four full days that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. We feature the world’s top performers each night across eight live music stages and we bring the ‘page to the stage’ by bringing Essence magazine to life at the Convention Center during the day.”

In addition to the big names that are going to appear and perform, Essence Fest will also host gospel great Donnie McClurkin, Dr. Steve Perry and Rev. Al Sharpton for panel discussions.

Take a look below at the A-list and old-school acts that will perform at the 19th annual Essence Music Festival.

Terry Shropshire

I'm a lover of words, pictures, people and The Ohio State Buckeyes. A true journalist from the soul.