- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - More than 422,000 people took part in the 2011 Essence Music Festival held over the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans.

For three days, thousands gathered for nightly concerts inside the Louisiana Superdome and free daily empowerment and community-based events at the city’s convention center where the festival, presented by Coca-Cola, celebrated its 17th anniversary.

Citywide hotel occupancy was in the mid-90 percent range or higher throughout the weekend.

Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks said Tuesday that the large numbers underscore the festival’s significance as a one-of-a-kind platform for entertainment, information and inspiration.

The festival featured performances by Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Jill Scott, El Debarge, Chaka Khan and others.


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