I made it to the Essence Festival 2019. Since I bought my ticket about nine months and made my plans before the festival, I thought that I was fully prepared. My trip to the airport gave me a real reality check. I was not prepared at all.  Here’s how you can do the Essence Fest the right way. 

Dress right for the Airport

I thought I looked cute at the airport on my way to the Essence Festival. I choose this of-the-shoulder blue blouse. I chose it mostly because it was light-weight and it didn’t need ironing! When I arrived at the airport, all was well with the top until I had to bend over to take my shoes off. I looked down and noticed that everyone could probably see my goodies in my strapless bra. I stood up quickly, aware that I had to be careful about bending over. Then while I was sitting cozy in my seat on the plane, I happened to look down again, and I noticed that my top was on backwards! I wouldn’t recommend wearing an off-the-shoulder top like this, because it’s just not very secure when you need to handle your luggage, bend over, etc. Of course it’s not cute if you wear it backwards.

Choose a Good Hotel

I stayed in Le Pavillon Hotel during my trip to New Orleans. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the Mercedes Benz Superdome (where the concerts were held). I literally had to walk straight down one road to get to the dome, which is great for a directionally challenged diva like myself. Le Pavillon is a high-end hotel, so it’s beautiful inside. My room was pretty basic, however. I choose Le Pavillon especially because it’s so close to the dome, but it was a little far from the other Essence Fest functions and activities. The Beauty Carnival, the Fashion Carnival, the E-Power event, the French Quarter were not walking distance.  There was also a mix-up dealing with my room service order. They delivered my food to the wrong room, and had me waiting forever to eat.

Dress Comfortably for the Concerts 

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is huge! Most of the Essence Fest concert-goers wore shorts, jeans, pants, casual clothes with sandals or sneakers. People were dressed to dance, to walk long distances and to feel comfortable. A few people wore club dresses with heels, but I wouldn’t advise that. A lot of the festival goers walked back to their hotel after the concert, because it was hell trying to get an Uber at the end of the night. 

Dress Comfortably but Appropriately for Everything Else

I brought all casual clothes for the fest, which would have been okay, if I hadn’t added a the E-Suite (a business event) at the last minute. So, I was at this event with key-note speakers, and I was wearing denim shorts. Bring at least one outfit that’s suitable for a casual business event. The E-Suite event was so worthwhile. It was great to get business advice from successful black women. I highly recommend it! Don’t forget to bring your business cards.

Expect to Wait for Uber Everywhere

I thought that I’d take Uber everywhere I wanted to go that was too far to walk. It took Uber forever to get anywhere. I had no choice but to call them and wait, because most of the events were not close to each other. Trust and believe that I was waiting in the hot sun with dozens of other people, trying to get an Uber or a Lyft or whatever. The traffic was terrible! Although the Ubers were usually within 10 to 15 minutes away, they couldn’t get to me, because they were stuck in traffic most of the time. I had no choice but to wait. One Uber driver let me out about five blocks away from my destination (I agreed under the circumstances). 

Try to Attend All of the Nightly Concerts

If you buy your tickets early, you can get a good deal on a three-day concert pass. Buy it! One thing that I didn’t like about the fest is that you might not know the full concert line-up until at the last minute. Buy your tickets early, and try to get tickets for all three days. Plan to attend all of the days, too. Michelle Obama was added a couple of months before the festival, and I was shocked! If I had bought only one or two tickets, I might have not bought the night that she was going to be there.  I didn’t go to the concert on the last day, and there were some performers that I wanted to see. Don’t think that the Essence Fest won’t have good performers on the last day!