New Orleans' Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced an extended agreement with Essence Communications to host the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans for another four years, through 2014. In 2010, Essence Music Festival welcomed more than 400,000 attendees over a three-day period to attend the empowerment seminars held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the nightly concerts at the Louisiana Superdome, featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. The majority of attendees come from outside the metropolitan New Orleans area. Studies peg the local economic impact at more than $170 million.
"I am so pleased to announce that our friends from the Essence community will continue to call New Orleans home," said Mayor Landrieu. "The importance of the Essence Festival to our culture, our festival calendar and our economy cannot be overstated. This is truly a party with a purpose, as this event and the entertainers and corporate sponsors they bring to the City continue to make a tremendous positive impact on New Orleans socially and economically."
Joining Mayor Landrieu in announcing the commitment were Michelle Ebanks, President of Essence Communications, and Joy Collins, General Manager of Essence Communications, as well as members of the local host committee, including Pam Breaux, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism.
Described as "the party with a purpose," Essence Music Festival is an annual event — the largest of its kind in the United States — celebrating contemporary African-American music and culture. The dates for the 2011 Festival are July 1-3.
Studies done by the University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center also showed that the average attendee spends more than $280 per day while in New Orleans for the festival, with over $90 million in primary spending, and another $82 million in secondary spending. On average, Essence Music Festival generates more than $5.2 million in city taxes and $7.9 million in state taxes, with $47.6 million of earnings for area residents.
"Essence is proud to stand with the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans in support of our enduring Essence Music Festival partnership," said Michelle Ebanks, President, Essence Communications Inc. "New Orleans is the natural home of the Essence Music Festival, and we are pleased to extend our alliance in order to deliver the best cultural, community and personal empowerment experience for our Festival-goers in 2011."
The State of Louisiana serves as one of the festival sponsors and played a key role in luring Essence back for another four years.
"We are proud to partner with and sponsor the annual Essence Music Festival," said Pam Breaux, Secretary the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and ourism. "Essence is an institution in Louisiana with a great return on investment. We look forward to welcoming and showing off Louisiana's best assets to Essence Music Festival visitors from all over the country next July."
The Essence Music Festival has been held in New Orleans every year except 2006 when the event was held in Houston, when the Louisiana Superdome and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center were under renovation after Hurricane Katrina.
Photo by Cherie Teamer.
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