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Every year, the Essence Festival attracts more than 450,000 visitors to New Orleans to participate in its multi-day entertainment, empowerment and cultural event – gathering celebrities, influencers, top power players and the like.
In an unexpected bout of news, Essence President Michelle Ebanks announced on October 15th, that the annual event, generating well over $200 million to the local economy, will expand its festival to trek across the shore to land in the city of Durban in South Africa (pictured below).
“For more than 20 years, the Essence Festival has brought thousands of people together in New Orleans from near and far to celebrate a world-class event,” says Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City of New Orleans. “I am thrilled that this festival is now expanding internationally to Durban, South Africa. The people of New Orleans know first-hand that the Essence Festival has not only enhanced our cultural economy, but it has also made a meaningful impact across the community through service and personal empowerment.”
Following the successful formatting of the original Essence Festival, the three-year partnership of the Essence Festival Durban will present international performers, women’s empowerment initiatives, speakers that will both entertain and inspire, youth-inspiring concepts, as well as highlighting local experts and artists.
The city of Durban has witnessed spurts of economic growth garnering much attention over the past two years through its involvement with high profile events – ultimately solidifying the city as a top contender for international travel and destination.
“We are delighted to partner with the vibrant city of Durban to launch the Essence Festival globally in South Africa,” Ebanks notes. “Hosting our first international Essence Festival in Durban purposefully extends our mission to convene the diaspora around shared aspirations.”