Plan the perfect trip to the Essence Festival 2018. Here’s your check-list of things you need to know about Essence Festival hotels, concerts, and seating.

So, You Want to See Janet?

A post shared by Janet Jackson (@janetjackson) on

Janet JacksonErykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, The Roots, Daniel Caesar, and H.E.R. are some of the headliners for the Essence Festival 2018 at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. It’s past time to get to planning that trip to New Orleans.

If you want to see Janet, her show is on Sunday, July 8th. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Other celebrities performing those nights include Fantasia, Teddy Riley, Wreckx-N-Effect and Blackstreet. Tickets start at $80 and go up to more than $1,500.

Still more in the scheduled line-up include:



  • Dave Hollister
  • Guy
  • Kool Moe Dee
  • SWV
  • Doug E. Fresh
  • D-Nice
  • Roy Wood Jr.
  • DVSN
  • Louis york
  • 112
  • Victory
  • Big Fredia
  • DJ Jubilee
  • The Read
  • Ro James


The performances at the SuperDome begin on July 6th. On that Friday night, you have Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Snoop Dogg, The Roots, Miguel (and 19 other performers like KeKe Wyatt, MC Lyte, Kelly Price, and Kool Moe Dee).  There are no promises that they will all appear and they might appear in any order.  Here’s the ticket information for July 6th.

Essence Festival Concert Performers for July 6, 2018

  • Ledisi
  • Doug E. Fresh
  • D-Nice
  • H.E.R.
  • Kelly Price
  • Roy Wood Jr.
  • Vaughn Willis
  • MC Lyte
  • Damien Escobar
  • Mykia Jovan
  • Kool Moe Dee
  • Dres
  • Whodini
  • YoYo
  • The Lady of Rage
  • D.J. Captain Charles
  • Pell

Essence Festival Concert Performers for July 7, 2018

On Saturday, July 7, 2018 Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Xscape,  Doug E. Fresh. Other performers include:

  • D-Nice
  • Roy Wood Jr.
  • Marsha Ambrosius
  • Kelela
  • Daniel Caesar
  • Jussie Smollett
  • Serani
  • Yanina

Prepare for Your Concert at the Superdome

The best seats, front and center, in the Superdome are in section BB. Rows 1 to 25 are the closest to the stage. On the right or left of the center are are sections,  AA and CC are on either side.  Any of the sections with a letter-name are good. They are all pretty close to the stage at the Superdome. The farthest sections are numbered.  Sections 139-145 are still in the middle, but they are a farther out from lettered sections.

Weekend packages are sold out, but individual concert tickets are still available.

You might want to take a special look at sections 126 (left of the stage, looking at the map) and section 101 and 102 (on the right side). These are pretty close numbered sections that are not in the center. Sections 101 and 102 are behind the VIP section, which is behind the stage.

If you are unable to get the closest seats at the Superdome for the Essence Festival, well, the farthest seats are in the 600th row. Remember that the Superdome is shaped like a big circle, so these seats are in the outer ring of the dome.

Essence Festival Events at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Did you know that there are tons of events and show at the festival that are totally free? Yes. During the daytime hours at  the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the festival comes alive with food demonstrations, beauty and fashion, motivational speeches and entertainment. You have to register to attend the free events in the Convention Center.

Essence Eats

Essence has invited a slew of chefs to show off their talents at the Essence Eats section of the conference in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The chefs will demonstrate various cooking styles on stage. There’s an eating area where you can buy to eat, too.

The Empowerment Experience

Hear motivational speeches and life advice from some of the greatest minds in the words in Essences’s Empowerment Experience. In the past Oprah Winfrey and Al Sharpton were part of the line-up of role models who graced the stage.

Beauty & Style Expo

Get beauty tips, a mini make-over,  beauty consultations and see beauty and fashion demonstrations at the Beauty and Style Expo. Get your free samples here!

Free Entertainment All-Access at the Convention Center

Celebrities from the performances and others will be posted at the Entertainment all Access section in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the Essence Festival. Get photos with your favorite celebrities and meet them in the Fan Zone, hear live interviews from them at Center Stage and watch special sneak peaks in the Screening Room.

Hotels Near the Essence Festival

Have you made your hotel reservations yet? After you secure your festival tickets, you’ll want to jump on securing a hotel room right away. You have several choices for hotels near the Superdome.

Hyatt House New Orleans

Walking distance to the Superdome: About .3 miles (5 minute walk)

The residential style Hyatt House is perfect for groups or people who just want a little extra space for their stay during the Essence Festival. The Hyatt House is next to the Hyatt Regency. They are connected by a bridge.

Features: Free wi-fi, 24-hour food options, 24-hour fitness center, fully equipped kitchens, pool

Compare prices for Hyatt House reservations and read guest reviews here.

Hyatt Regency New Orleans

Walking distance to the Superdome: .4 miles (8 minute walk).

The Hyatt Regency. Superdome is a mere 8-minute walk to the Superdome nd the Essence Festival, so if convenience is what you are looking for, here it is. Imagine being able to step out of our hotel with your friends and stroll over to the workshops, concerts, etc. Be sure to check rates as soon as you can!

Features: Free wi-fi, room service, 24-hour fitness center, rooftop saltwater pool, multiple on-site restaurants

Take a look at the prices, compare prices, and read reviews for the Hyatt Regency.

The Roosevelt

Walking distance to the Superdome: .7 miles (15 minute walk)

A Waldorf Astoria property, the Roosevelt Hotel. New Orleans has its own spa,  a rooftop pool, and little touches like shoe shining, give guests a luxurious hotel experiences minutes away from the Superdome.

Features: Spa, parking ($46 a day for registered guests, plus an overnight tax), in-room internet $14, free “public” internet, in-room dining, several restaurants and bars in the hotel.


Find the best deal, compare hotel prices, and read about the experiences that other travels had at the Roosevelt Hotel here.

InterContinental New Orleans

Walking distance to the Superdome: About .8 miles, (16 minutes)

You might pay a little more, for the InterContinental Hotel in New Orleans but the extra services like the limo service and car service (at an extra cost) can make things a whole lot easier during your stay.

Features: Concierge, free wi-fi, roof-top pool, 24-hour dining, fitness center, on-site dining, babysitting services,  car/limo service (for an extra fee)

Find the best deal, check prices, and read reviews for the InterContinental in New Orleans

Crowne Plaza Astor

Walking distance to the Superdome : About 1 mile to the Superdome (20 minute walk)

The Crowne Plaza Hotel Astor is located on Bourbon Street.  Depending on how you travel, the hotel is less than one mile away from the Superdome. It has some of the most luxurious amenities like 24-hour room service, a bed and breakfast package, and a concierge.

Features: self-parking , valet parking (starting at $46), free wifi, on-site restaurant, dry cleaning service

Airport shuttle available

Check for availability, read reviews and check prices for the Crowne Plaza Hotel Astor.

Best Western Plus St. Christopher

Walking distance to the Superdome: About 1 mile (20 minute walk)

A post shared by Magnus (@craftybooze3887) on

The Best Western Plus St. Christoper has a completely different look from what you might be used to.

Features: Free continental breakfast (bacon, sausage, pancakes and more), free wireless internet, concierge, spa available, valet parking $37 to $43). 

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read stories from other travelers who have stayed at the Best Western Plus St. Christopher

Hotel Moteleone

Walking distance to the Superdome: 1 mile (21 minute walk)

Hotel Monteleone has it’s charms, especially if you are drawn to a hotel with a colorful history. It’s one of the few family-owned hotels around.

Features: valet parking ($40 per day for regular sized cars) on-site restaurant and bar (well-known nightlife spot on the premises) heating rooftop pool, 24-hour fitness center

Find the best deal, check prices, and read reviews for Hotel Monteleone.

Bourbon Orleans Hotel

Walking distance to the Superdome: About 1.3 miles (28 minutes)

The Bourbon Orleans Hotel has a set itself apart by having a saltwater pool.

Features: Fitness center,valet parking, laundry service, and in-room dining

Find the best deal, check prices, and read what other travelers have to say about the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.

Place D’ Armes Hotel

Walking distance from the Superdome: About 1.9 miles (29 minute walk)

The Place d’ Armes has restored  18th Century buildings and sits inside the center of the French Quarter. It’s walking distance to Bourbon Street and also close to the Superdome. This charming hotel is also near the famous Cafe du Monde where you can stuff yourself with lots of beignets.

Features: swimming  pool, balcony suites

Check availability and prices for the Place d’ Armes here.

Essence Festival 2018: While in New Orleans sample beignets from Cafe Du Monde
Photo by Peter Burka, Creative Commons Attribution License

Transportation To and Around New Orleans for the Essence Festival

You are most likely going to either drive or take a flight into New Orleans.  If you do drive to New Orleans, you will probably have to pay for parking nightly at your hotel. It seems to be about $40 or more per night.

If you’re taking a flight, you’ll arrive at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is about 14 miles from the airport. From the airport, you can arrange a shuttle or get a taxi to your hotel. It’s probably wise to pre-arrange this, because taxis might be limited.

Contact Airport Shuttle New Orleans for Shuttle Services. It’s $24 per person for the service one way. You can arrange for round-trip travel and pay $44 and have your transportation back to the airport to catch your flight back home set.

Use street cars as transportation for the essence festival
Take a street car to and from the Essence Festival: Photo by Nan Palmero, Creative Commons License

You can take use public transportation services (buses, streetcars, etc.)  from the Regional Transit Authority to get around the area. Use the app to buy tickets and the online online planner, maps and schedule to guide you around the area.  Of course, there’s Uber, Lyft and taxi services, too. Download everything you need before you leave for the festival.


Here’s What Pack for the Essence Festival

It’s going to hot in New Orleans, very hot. Definitely pack cool, light-weight shorts. Rompers like the one on the right from Amazon are cute and classy.Buy a few in different styles and patterns, and you’ll be ready to hit the streets and see the sights at the Essence Festival, while looking cool and collected.

This sexy little number, available on Amazon,  is just perfect for the concerts and night-time events. It’s sexy, form-fitting to show off your curves. Other colors are available, too.  Handle this romper with care, so it doesn’t get wrinkled on the way. Pair it with some gladiator shoes (stilletos are not recommended for all of the walking you’ll do) and you are ready to see the shows at the Superdome, so you’ll be cute and comfortable.

Perfect for those daytime workshops and events, you’ll find this romper in multiple colors (you don’t have to get white!) on Amazon.

Stock Up on Sassy T-Shirts

You are going to see a lot of cute graphic T-s at the festival. Order yours several weeks in advance of the trip, so you’ll have it.

Pack this t-shirt because there’s nothing wrong with telling the truth.

This t-shirt just about says it all. It’s a must-have. Doesn’t it convey how you feel just so perfectly?

… And some shorts!

Throw on a pair of distressed jeans that stretch to your shape and a cute t-shirt. You’ll be ready to go. These are shorts but not so short that you are showing off too much.

You can’t go wrong with a pair of basic jean shorts, and these shorts from Levis (sold on Amazon) are stretchy. Customers say that you should order a size smaller if you want them to hug your body.

Pack Maxi or Mini Dresses or Maybe Both!

This maxi dress with shorts has had a lot of positive reviews on Amazon. It doesn’t look as super-sexy as it does in this photo. The customer photos on Amazon will give you an idea of how it really looks. It’s cute, though. It’s probably more appropriate for club hopping on Bourbon Street or showing out in the evening at the festival.

Okay now flower girl! This cool summer dress from Amazon is very sweet. Be careful, though, if you are over 5’4″ you might want to wear shorts under it. It’s short!

Sometimes all you need is something simple. Pack a flowing maxi dress for a simple, sophisticated look. Don’t forget your shades!

Comfortable Festival Shoes

Comfortable shoes are a must! Flats with good airflow will help you enjoy the events at the conference center or concerts instead of worrying about your feet. Soft soles that cushion your steps will help, too.

Gladiators can come in handy for the concert. Just be careful that no one steps on your feet.  They will look cute with a mini skirt, shorts, or even a maxi dress. The gladiators are sold in white and silver on Amazon.

The Essence Festival will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2018. Photo of the Superdome by Phil Roeder, Creative Commons Attribution License