Prince to headline 2014 Essence Music Festival

Prince, in 2007, will headline the 2014 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
(Tannen Maury / EPA)

This post has been updated. See below for details.

Prince is headed to New Orleans to headline the 2014 Essence Music Festival, the annual three-day festival held over Independence Day weekend, Essence announced Tuesday.

Next year’s installment will mark the 20-year anniversary of the festival, which is billed as one of the largest gatherings of black artists in the country.

Prince previously performed at Essence in 2004 to mark the festival’s 10th year. The 2014 festival is set for July 3-6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.


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What began as a one-off celebration for the 25th anniversary of the black women’s lifestyle magazine in 1995 has turned into the preeminent destination for R&B and hip-hop fans, and it attracts hundreds of thousands of music fans to New Orleans each year.

The 2013 lineup featured Beyoncé, Maxwell, Jill Scott, Brandy and Janelle Monáe.

Essence faced competition from BET this year. The network launched a worthy contender by transforming its own annual award spectacle into a three-day destination festival in Los Angeles. The BET Experience kicked off the weekend before and featured Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, Miguel, Kendrick Lamar, New Edition and R. Kelly. BET plans to stage its festival annually.

Organizers for Essence said the rest of the lineup would be announced shortly.

Update, Monday, 11:39 a.m.: An earlier version of this post indicated the Essence Music Festival began on July 4.


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