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Essence Festival Essentials

Source: Courtesy of Jazmine /

After a two-year COVID hiatus, Essence Festival 2022 is back! The popular music/cultural event is set to return to New Orleans, LA (NOLA) on Thursday, June 30th. And you already know it’s going down baybeee (in my NOLA accent)!

Essence Fest is one of the largest festivals in the country. It offers a weekend of educational panels, networking opportunities, parties, and musical performances from the biggest superstars in the world. NOLA has been the home to Essence Fest since its humble beginning in 1995. As a NOLA resident, I can attest to the unique, rich experience the beloved city boasts. It’s the perfect backdrop to festival-goers allowing them to  totally immerse themselves in all things Black. From flavorful food and drinking in the streets to buck-jumping (aka dancing) down Burbon Street, NOLA is the perfect place to let your hair down and celebrate the culture. This city welcomes the Essence Fest crowd with open arms, but keep in mind that her hugs are warm…like 100 degrees warm. In other words, it’s hot as hell in NOLA….straight up.

I’m a Louisiana girl, and I’ve been attending the Essence Festival since my early 20’s. I’ve mastered the art of navigating these Essence Fest streets by simply learning from my faux pas. I’ve made the rookie mistake of wearing high heels that literally crippled my feet from all the walking during the festival. Also, because I love a good Diana Ross moment, I’ve worn my big hair out many times…only to have the humidity shrink it to shame. Therefore, I care enough to save the naive festival-goers from repeating my blunders during this fun-pact weekend. Because, it’s no fun when you’re overheated, your feet hurt, and your hair just won’t curl right.

Below are five essential tips that will help your Essence Festival experience flow pleasantly.

1. Protective Style

First things first – hair. Ladies, I’m not trying to tell you how to rock your mane for the weekend, but what I will tell you is that a protective style is ESSENTIAL. The NOLA heat has no mercy on natural hair, wigs, or relaxed hair! Rain is also in the forecast for this weekend. Braids or any other protective style will allow you to have versatility, low maintenance, be super cute, and humidity-proof at the same time.  

2. Big Bag

One of the great things about Essence Fest are the goodies you will collect at the convention center booths. Hair products, swag bags, t-shirts, and other paraphernalia will be at your fingertips. Instead of walking around with a handful of things, carry one big stylish bag to store your collectibles in. Also, a big bag will hold your wet wipes, sanitizer, comfortable shoes, etc. Keep in mind that the big bag is ONLY for the day activities. They do not allow big bags in the Ceasars Dome for the concerts at night. Click here for more information on the bag policy. 

3. Comfortable Shoes

The heat plus walking in heels on NOLA concrete is a recipe for torture! I’m not saying leave your heels at home, I’m just saying to stash them in that big bag I mentioned above. Bring out the tennis and flip flops because you will be doing a lot of walking! There’s nothing worse than being hot and having aching feet. So plan your outfits accordingly and make sure they can be paired with comfortable shoes (which most outfits can). 

4. Sunscreen

It’s imperative that you protect that brown skin while you’re out and about during Essence Fest. Black Girl Sunscreen is perfect for shielding our skin from the sun, and it doesn’t leave a white cast. Grab you a tube before you come because you will need it! 

5. Portable Fan

2022 Essence Festival Essentials Source:Courtesy of Walmart.com

The more you do to make sure you’re keeping yourself cool during Essence Fest, the better your time will be. A mini handheld fan will come in handy when you’re outside walking from event to event. You can store it in your bag and whip it out when needed (which will be every other second). Other than your sunglasses, it will be the perfect accessory for the weekend. 

6. Portable Charger

2022 Essence Festival Essentials Source:Courtesy of Walmart.com

Of course, your phone needs to stay on at least 50% so you can keep your Instagram stories popping with Essence Fest footage! You won’t have time to run back to your hotel room or Air BnB to charge your phone when it gets low, nor will you want to hunt down an outlet in the convention center or a nearby restaurant. Therefore, having a portable battery charger for your phone is ideal. All you have to do is plug in while you’re on the go!

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