Lianne La Havas at Day 4 of Essence Festival in 2015
After nearly 20 years in New Orleans, Louisiana (and one year in Houston, Texas due to Hurricane Katrina), it looks like ESSENCE Festival is finally hitting the road.
The wildly popular event which draws over 450,000 attendees from all over the world will be heading to Durban, South Africa in 2016. The move, which was announced on Wednesday by ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks and eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo at Durban City Hall, comes as the result of a three-year partnership has been formed with eThekwini Municipality.
“We are delighted to partner with the vibrant city of Durban to launch the Essence Festival globally in South Africa,” said Ebanks about the expansion. “Hosting our first international ESSENCE Festival in Durban purposefully extends our mission to convene the diaspora around shared aspirations.”
Mayor Nxumalo says that the festival is one of many major events that is attracting new interest in Durban.
“This partnership will have a host of benefits for residents starting with the Durban Business Fair (DBF) program which strives to connect local businesses globally. The Fair is taking place simultaneously with the ESSENCE Festival launch announcement,” he said.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu also extended well-wishes to ESSENCE, saying that he was “thrilled” by news of the expansion.