Exclusive: BET Experience deal renewed through 2018

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson appears at the 2014 BET Experience at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.

(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The 2015 BET Experience doesn’t kick off for another month, but the network has already struck a deal to ensure it sticks around for three more years.

BET and Anschutz Entertainment Group have renewed their deal to continue the multi-day festival through 2018, a representative for the festival told The Times on Thursday.

In 2012 the Black Entertainment Television network and AEG parterned to transform its annual awards show into a three-day destination festival in Los Angeles. AEG and promoter Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Live, helped curate a bill of top-tier R&B, soul and hip-hop artists.

The festival pairs headlining concerts with late-night shows, wellness seminars, celebrity panels, new artist showcases, a film festival and a free expo along with a number other events at which revolve around the awards show telecast.


Anchored at L.A. Live’s multiple downtown venues, the BET Experience’s inaugural year in 2013 featured performances by Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Miguel, R. Kelly and others. Last year’s installment featured Outkast, Maxwell and Jill Scott, Rick Ross, Future, the Roots, Mary J. Blige and Trey Songz.

Earlier this year, BET announced that this year’s festival, its third, would expand to four dates.

Set for June 25-28, comedian Kevin Hart will open the festival with a standup show at Staples Center. Nicki Minaj follows, heading a lineup that includes Ne-Yo and rising acts Tinashe and Rae Sremmurd. Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Schoolboy Q lead a hip-hop-focused bill for the third night of shows at Staples.

R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe and hip-hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh will also appear in the first of a string of late-night shows at Club Nokia. The group will follow Hart’s standup gig, R&B sensation Miguel will follow Minaj, and the Roots return for another guest-filled jam session after the rap showcase. The hip-hop band will pay tribute to late producer and rapper J Dilla in a set also featuring Erykah Badu and other surprise performers.


The Los Angeles Convention Center will again host the festival’s immersive free fan expo during the weekend.

Floyd Mayweather, Kobe Bryant, Janelle Monae, George Clinton and Larry Wilmore are among the industry heavyweights tapped for the “Genius Talks” series of panels.

Monae will bring her Wonderland collective for a showcase. West Coast talents such as Vince Staples, Cypress Hill and Too Short will anchor another. Free showcases focused on rising, Latino and Caribbean acts are also planned. The expo also offers a celebrity basketball game, sneaker convention and a kids area.

Single-day Staples Center show tickets start at $59.50, with three-day packages starting at $169.50. Club Nokia ticket prices vary by artist.

VIP packages, which include a ticket to the award show, range from $1,095 to $4,395. More information can be found on the festival’s site.

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