5 Tips For A Great Essence Fest Experience

VeePeeJay At Essence Fest 2015

I spent the 4th of July weekend at Essence Fest 2015. As a first timer, it was an amazing experience. So amazing that it took me almost 2 weeks to recover, part of the reason I’m just getting to this post 🙂 Although the experience was great I learned a few things a long the way that I wanted to pass on to anyone who might be going to future Essence Fests for the first time. Here are 5 Tips for A Great Essence Fest experience.


Oh my! I knew Essence Fest was a big deal but I was not prepared for the crowds lol. As you can see from the picture above, people kept photo bombing my “Essence” picture. 🙂
I arrived in New Orleans on Friday morning and took a stroll (at least I tried) down Bourbon street on Friday night. There were people EVERYWHERE. If you’re visiting New Orleans or going to Essence fest for the first time, bring a backpack or cross body bag to carry your items.


You would think the “pack light” part goes without saying, right? As a chronic over packer I felt proud that I was *only” taking one piece of luggage and one carry one bag. Obviously I didn’t need half of the stuff I packed. However, I was smart enough to pack an extra duffle bag to carry all the swag & extra stuff that I was gifted and collected over the weekend.

Pictured with Ledisi at the Design Essentials Event. I won a cross body leather bag from GregorySylvia.
VeePeeJay with Ledisi at Essence Fest 2015
3) MAKE A SCHEDULE (before you arrive, if possible)

Prior to leaving for New Orleans there were a few events that I was invited to, and a few others that I planned on attending, like the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo. Once I got there, I realize that there were so many other events happening that I wanted to squeeze in. Between the Pop Up shops, brand events and Free Essence events, I just didn’t have the time to make it them all.

TIP: Before you leave home, download the Essence Fest App to plan out which official events you’d like to attend.


NONHE 2015Snapshots from the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo
From Top to Bottom & Left to Right: IG friend @MissAlexandriaNicole | My peeps for @NaturallySupreme | Carols Daughter Founder, Lisa Price | Blogger Friend, Jay from relaxedthairapy.com


essence-fest-2015-veepeejay2In all my over packing,  I did remember to pack a few flats & sandals along with my wedges and *cough* heels.
I had the awesome opportunity to partner with My Black is Beautiful in their social media newsroom to interview celebrities and influencers for the #AllTogetherBeautiful campaign. I wore wedges for most of the day, but between walking around and through the convention center, my feet were killing me. My flats saved me.
You’ll be doing A LOT of walking and standing in a long lines, so dress comfortably because New Orleans is hot and HUMID, and bring flats.

veepeejay-mbib-marvin-sapp-essence-festTop : Interviewing Marvin Sapp  || Bottom: With Chrisette Michelle after our Interview.

Watch some of the interview snippets HEREVeePeeJay with Chrisette Michelle at Essence Fest 20155) ARRIVE EARLY, LEAVE LATE

veepeejay-honeybenatural-thenaturalcole-essence-festWith two of my roommates for the weekend: HoneybeNatural & The Natural Cole.

By the time I arrived in New Orleans on Friday morning, Essence Fest was already underway. I did make the decision to attend Essence Fest slightly late, so next time I’ll definitely plan in advance.
If you intend to get the most of the your experience, and see some of New Orleans (which I wanted to do) you need to arrive a few days early. Also the final Essence Fest concert happens on Sunday night, so if you plan to attend the concerts, keep that in mind.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever been to Essence Fest? Tell me about your experience in the comments. 






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  • Lee

    I attended in the 90’s when Susan Taylor was still at
    the helm of Essence. And you could tell her hand was all over it because the seminars were topnotch and uplifting, the entertainment was top shelf, and everyone I saw there, native New Orleanians and visitors alike, oozed poise, grace and style just as Ms Taylor always does. Looking forward to attending in 2017.

  • It was so great meeting you. TY for the blog love!!!

  • Kasi Perkins

    Really great tips! I have been to the festival before and would have to agree with them all! Loved looking at all your photos, looks like soo much fun!

  • LaQuisha Hall

    I hope to make this festival at some point. Your pictures look so fun!

  • Hopefully one year I can make it to the Essence Festival. I’d love to rub elbows with starts and get bags full of swag! 😉

  • Great tips! Looks like you were busy and had a great time!

  • The Natural Cole

    Great Tips!!! We had a wonderful weekend 🙂

  • Wow. I think I would love to go to the Essence Fest net year! I knew nothing about the event(s) before this post but I know that you alive would help me in the future! Thanks!

  • I made it one of goals to attend next year. I can’t wait.

  • Joyce Brewer

    I haven’t been to Essence fest, but I visited New Orleans a lot when I lived in MS. I even drove down there one weekend when my sister participated in a half marathon. It doesn’t take much for that city to get crazy crowded. Looks like you had a ball!

  • It was such a pleasure to meet you finally! Also I tried to go into the MBIB booth and I didnt know I need wristbands I wanted to support but congrats on the opp!! I had a blast and FLATS are a must will all that walking!

  • Holly

    I haven’t been, it seems like a lot of fun, but a bit crazy. I know there were a ton of people there. I would automatically be wearing flats. Especially with all the walking around.

  • Great tips! I haven’t been to Essence in YEARS! But the flats are a MUST! And i agree with the cross body bag! It just makes it easier on you! I hope I can finally get back next year!

  • I would have my flats with me at all times I don’t wear heels so I know I would need it. Love your tips I can only imagine the crowd.