I am watching Girls Trip for the second time this weekend as I prepare for Essence Festival 2018.  My group chats are popping and I have begun the outfit sorting process.  In short I canNOT wait!  Despite having a pretty detailed breakdown of tips in my recap from last year, I decided to drop a few more gems in this Prepping for Essence Festival 2018 post!

Get the Essence Fest App

Have you downloaded the Essence Festival app? Looks like they scrapped the one from 2017 and started over.  Quite frankly, this new one is MUCH better than last year.  You can of course see the full schedule of official events and curate your own schedule.  That alone makes this app a must have.  But this year, you can also register for the screenings that will be held at the convention center.  There is also a great list of black owned businesses in New Orleans too. Stick to this list and you should be good!

Also, this year they are requiring those visiting the convention center to register ahead of time. You can do this via the app.  Be sure to do it BEFORE you head to the convention center though. Don’t need  y’all holding up the line!

Outside of Essence

The good folks at Essence monopolize your time with day and evening events for the most part.  There are still other events in town that may be appealing too.  For example, Trap Karaoke planned a tour stop for that Friday at the House of Blues.  Looks like it is sold out, but sometimes you can find someone selling extra tickets.

Also, Black Restaurant Week is making it’s way to New Orleans.  Check out the Houston version here for more details. For those arriving to New Orleans early, on Thursday you can attend Nosh/Power of the Palate. These events will highlight local caterers and bartenders. During the weekend, several black owned restaurants will have tasting menus for a set price as part of Black Restaurant Week.

Where are the After Parties and Day Parties?

As you can imagine party promoters converge on New Orleans to host events during the day and after concerts end.  Look I am old.  Those concerts wrap at about 12am. Then there is the fight to catch a taxi or uber back to the French Quarter. At that point, all I want to do is get some food and go to sleep!  For you young folks, hit up Eventbrite and Instagram to find the happenings.  On Eventbrite, just search the dates plus New Orleans and you will see tons of events.  For Instagram hashtags like #EssenceFest or #EssenceFestival are your best bets.

This weather tho?

The weather is not looking good my friends.  We will likely be dealing with ran and if it ain’t raining the heat will be out of control!  So that means plan accordingly on your shoes and attire.  Even if it is not raining the streets will be wet, so pack those converse or rain boots just in case.

Event Highlights

10 Takeaways from Essence Festival- The Convention Center

Here are a few things that have made their way to my inbox or caught my eye so I wanted to share!

Shea Moisture will host a pop up event in addition to their booth in the convention center.  In addition to their typical beauty focus, there will be speakers, cocktails and light bites.   RSVP for that event here. 

The cast of the THE HATE U GIVE will be at the convention center talking about the book turned movie staring Amandla Stenberg on Saturday at 1:45pm.

The Read podcast is coming to Essence Festival! You can catch them on Friday at the Joy Theater.

While they are not screening THE HATE U GIVE, there will be screenings of the Trayvon Martin documentary on Friday, Claws on Saturday, the Bobby Brown story, Antman & the Wasp and also Power.  Be sure to register for those screenings on the app.

No Tickets? Head the Superdome anyway

10 Takeaways from Essence Festival- Superdome

The Superdome!

Just this weekend, TWO people told me how much luck they have had getting super cheap tickets or free tickets from folks who had extras.  Now you may not be seating together but that only matters for the acts on the main stage.  If you head to the superlounges you can hang with your crew with no worries.


What events are you all attending? What are your tips for Essence first timers?  What are your must stops for restaurants? Share the wealth below!