Lessons From Essence Music Fest

For the last four years, attending the Essence Music Festival has been a summer ritual (See a post about my first time here). I consider Louisiana and New Orleans home. I know what to expect and what not to expect. I had an AWESOME time. It’s a music lover’s (and celebrity stalker’s)dream. Here are few things I’ve known for a while and new things I’ve learned about this event-filled weekend.

1. You cannot do everything during the festival weekend.

An average at the EMF includes empowerment series, celebrity meet and greets at the convention center, day parties all over, the concerts, which last to about 2 a.m. and afterparties. It’s best to select a few things each day. If you try to do all of the above for 2-3 days straight, I hope you packed your inhaler and an extra pair of feet.

2. Ladies, for every pair of heels you pack, it’s perfectly okay to pack a pair of flats/flip-flops.

Remember that extra pair of feet I was talking about? You won’t need them if you put your pride aside, and whip out those flip-flops. You do too much walking. My first time at Essence it was amazing to see every woman anywhere pulling flats out of their bags during and after the shows. I’m happy to report that I kept my heels on during the entire Kanye show. It had to have been the drinks.

3. I ain’t no spring chicken.

Back in college for Bayou Classic my girls and I would head back to the room to nap for an hour and hit the streets AGAIN at 3 and 4 a.m. We decided to take it to Bourbon one last time…at 30. I hadn’t been on the street in years. We went at 3 a.m. Add that to walking around downtown and other randomness, and that equals my body aching and nonstop yawning the next day. I simply cannot do what I did at 20. I accept and embrace it.

4. After 17 years in existence, EMF is finally reaching its peak.

For years, I’ve known about the EMF, but living there as a college student, perhaps I thought it was a little too “grown” for me. Also, my family reunions were always on the holiday weekend. About four years ago, I went for the first time. This year, it seemed like everyone all over was talking about hitting up the festival, but why now? They’ve always had great artists and empowerment series. Has the hype come from social media sites, more blogs/mags attending to cover or have I and my peers finally gotten old enough to appreciate the festival?

5. VIP isn’t the be-all and end-all .

I consider myself a “regular” person. I didn’t come with media credentials (someday!) or as part of a celebrity’s entourage. I had the hook-up for VIP at the concerts plain and simple like a lot of people. I saw everyone from celebrities to children to magazine writers and editors (that was a plus) to college classmates to people who looked like they came straight off the street. There was too much good music on the stage to be crowded in VIP, stunting for other people. Well, I do appreciate the open bar.

6. Celebrities are people just like us.

Everyone’s entitled to being a true fan of someone. An artist, a political figure, whoever. I admit that I was starstruck when I saw Isaiah Washington. We sat and quoted Love Jones together. THAT is important stuff! However, when you Deebo me to get to NeNe Leakes, in turn making me spill my drink, we have a problem. Bring it down.

7. Charlie Wilson needs a new haircut ASAP.

After praying to sweet Jesus, He finally granted my prayer and made Charlie Wilson cut his braids. Be careful what you pray for. I’d seen the new ‘do on television, but it didn’t compare to seeing it up close. It’s a buffont, S-Curl, Wave Nouveau mixed with a bit of James Brown. #FAIL

8. Whether indoors or outdoors, attending festival requires a 2-shower MINIMUM every day.

It’s Louisiana in the summer. It’s HOT. We’re talking oppressive, cotton field heat. You cannot go without atleast two showers. I’m not sure people new to the city or the South were ready for that.

9. Ronnie DeVoe is still my boo.

My first celebrity crush hasn’t aged a bit. New Edition was beyond just great. All SIX of them. I think I finally realized that “Poison” has to be the best party song ever in life.

10. You don’t need to pay to get into day parties (or night ones) when you have hotel lobbies.

Harrah’s and the W lobby were insane…and hot. If you’re into that sort of thing, that should be your permanent chill spot.

11.You need a vacation after your vacation at Essence.

I think I was the only person on the planet who went to work today. My body is on auto-pilot. In fact, I should be asleep now. Goodnight.


3 thoughts on “Lessons From Essence Music Fest

  1. Thank you for this post. I am attending the EMF for the first time this year and your post came up in my “google” of what to expect. Will you be there this year? I now am ok with rocking flats the entire time. Thanks, sis!

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