The Essence Festival 2020 is the latest high-profile event to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Initially, organizers for the New Orleans extravaganza – which was originally set for July –announced a postponement to Fall in the wake of the global health crisis.
However, moments ago, they have taken heed to advice from the governing authorities to cancel altogether.
A statement read:
“New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell bravely recommended yesterday that no large events take place in New Orleans in 2020, and ESSENCE fully supports that decision. After continued monitoring of the evolving developments in the COVID-19 global pandemic and remaining in close contact and collaboration with our partners in the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, we are confirming today that we will no longer move forward with the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture live experience – and look forward to returning to New Orleans in 2021.”
Mayor Cantrell added:
“From the beginning, we have shared that the health, safety and well-being of our Festival-goers, local citizens and others who contribute to making the Festival such a unique experience were our top concerns and would be the foremost considerations in our decision-making. While we initially hoped that a reschedule from our July 2020 dates to later in the fall would be feasible, current information and projections by public health officials and agencies have made it increasingly clear that any large-scale events this year could potentially and unnecessarily put attendees and surrounding communities at risk. So, what would have typically been a very difficult decision for us was not because people come first, and we will continue to do everything that we can to serve our community during this time. We will honor all tickets sold for the 2020 Festival in 2021 and will also offer full refunds. Ticket holders should visit essencefestival.com for further information.”
Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars had been tapped to headline, while Megan Thee Stallion, Janelle Monae, Summer Walker and Patti LaBelle were also on the bill.
In its place, the ‘Essence Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19’ has been announced with a view to raise money and provide support for businesses and organizations in Black communities across the country. Additionally, the Essence Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition will take place over July 4th weekend with a similar goal. More info will become announced nearer the time.