Now in its 23rd year, Essence Music Festival in New Orleans is one of the longest running summer music festivals in the U.S. This year’s edition, which took place June 30-July 2 at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, featured artists both new and old, as well as a special Saturday showcase with a roster of all female artists.
The festival opened on Friday with a headlining set by the legendary Motown star Diana Ross, as well as performances from John Legend, India.Arie, Diana’s daughter Rhonda Ross, and many others.
Saturday’s lineup was curated by Mary J. Blige, who delivered a powerful set before ceding the stage to Chaka Khan for a special encore performance. Other performers included Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, Ari Lennox and many others.
The festival’s final day included sets from Solange -- who some felt stole the show in front of her adopted hometown crowd -- and Big Easy rap legend Master P, who was joined by many of No Limit’s biggest stars, including Snoop Dogg, Silkk and Mystikal. Chance the Rapper polished off the evening with a typically boisterous set.
As it does every year, Essence Fest served as a fitting cap to African-American Music Appreciation Month. Check out some of the best photos from the festival by AXS.com contributor Amy Harris above.