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Essence Festival 2020: Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars to headline

Grammy Award-winning artists Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson will headline the mainstage at the 2020 Essence Fest. Organizers announced the music lineup for festival’s three-night concert series at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from July 3 to July 5.

Essence Fest

With hits like “Uptown Funk,” this will be the first-ever Essence appearance and the only 2020 U.S. festival performance for Mars, a celebrated singer, songwriter, producer and musician who has sold over 200 million singles worldwide.

Jackson recently announced her new “Black Diamond World Tour” would include a stop in New Orleans during Essence Fest, along with plans for a new album release.

Other mainstage acts include Ari Lennox, Janelle Monae, Patti Labelle, Raphael Saadiq and Swiss Beatz.

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For the first time ever, the Essence Festival of Culture will be extended from three days to five days from July 1 to July 5. Organizers announced the expanded festival programming to to celebrate Essence magazine’s 50th anniversary, marking one day for each decade.

“This is a milestone year for ESSENCE and our community as we celebrate 50 years of creating opportunities for our culture to shine and the role of Black women in making it possible for us to do what no other brand has done,” Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications, Inc., said in a news release.

This year’s theme, “Own Our Power,” will be at the center of performances, conversations and activations that span arts, entertainment, music, beauty, fashion, technology, film, food, wellness, advocacy, civic engagement, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

The festival’s three-night concert series at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome features an eclectic global mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, Reggaeton, Afrobeats and more.

Here’s the list of mainstage acts announced so far:

Bruno Mars, Janet Jackson (headliners); Ari Lennox; Janelle Monae; Patti LaBelle; Raphael Saadiq (Performing songs across his entire career from Tony! Toni! Tone! through his solo albums, including Jimmy Lee); Estelle Presents Reggae & Afrobeats Link Up featuring Afro B, Chronnix, Elephant Man, Kranium, Max Glazer, Maxi Priest, Shenseea and more; Summer Walker; Swizz Beatz Presents In the Zone featuring guest artists; and more. Hosted by Loni Love. Music by D-Nice. In addition, the Mainstage will feature rousing tributes to music icons each night, including a special anniversary celebration on July 4th.

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Here’s the list of Superlounge acts announced so far:

Casmé, D Smoke; Demi Grace; Doug E. Fresh Presents The Real Hip-Hop and R&B Party; Elah Hale; Goldlink; Jac Ross; Jamesdavis; Jidenna; June’s Diary; Kiana Lede; Kitty Cash; Leikeli47; Masego; Mr Eazi; Oswin Benjamin; Rapsody; Saweetie; SiR; Smino; Stokley; Tamia; Tank and the Bangas; Teamarrr; The New Respects; Umi.

Weekend ticket packages are on sale now with prices starting at $180. For information about ticket sales, accommodations, recently launched exhibitor applications and VIP travel packages, and the latest news about the ESSENCE Festival of Culture, visit

Additional details for ESSENCE 50th Anniversary celebration activities throughout the year will be announced soon.