By Jonathan Borge
Updated May 05, 2016 @ 3:30 pm
Mariah Carey
Credit: Getty Images

Beyoncé’s "Formation" music video may have rekindled our love for New Orleans, but there’s another reason we’re seriously considering a trip to the Big Easy: the 2016 Essence Festival. So what, exactly, is #EssenceFest? Starting July 1, the three-day celebration of all things soul is designed to empower everyone thanks to a free lineup of motivational speakers that this year includes Tyra Banks, Misty Copeland, and Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child).

Dozens of performers are set to hit the stage of the city’s Mercedes-Benz Superdome with headlining acts like Maxwell and New Edition scheduled for Friday, Mariah Carey and Common for Saturday, and Kendrick Lamar, Ciara, Andra Day, and even Puff Daddy & The Family for Sunday.

Ready to book, stat? We thought so. Visit for a full range of event descriptions and several sneak peeks at what’s to come. You can purchase single night tickets, beginning at $50, and grouped three-day weekend packages starting at $130 at If that’s not enough, a VIP package is available for $2,700 and includes front-row seats and additional behind-the-scenes action.

Start to plan your escape now—and watch the editors of Essence talk about their love for R&B above.