The nightly schedule of the 2016 Essence Festival in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, released Wednesday, adds Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Common and Andra Day to the previously announced roster.
The festival will run July 1-3.
On the first night, Maxwell will close out the main stage, following New Edition, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Tyrese, Faith Evans and Avery Wilson.
The four secondary “superlounge” stages on opening night will feature Digable Planets, Daley, Eric Bellinger, Lion Babe, The Internet, Tweet, Mali Music, V. Bozeman, Kelly Price, Zakes Bantwini and Skye Wanda.
On July 2, Mariah Carey will make her Essence debut to headline the main stage. She faces the unenviable task of following Essence favorite “Uncle” Charlie Wilson, plus Common (who also performed at the 2015 Essence Festival), Estelle and Jeremih.
Estelle also will curate a show in a superlounge with Wizkid and Lady Leshurr. Performers in the other superlounges on July 2 will include Doug E. Fresh, Tink, Jidenna, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, St. Beauty, Lalah Hathaway and Judith Hill.
On July 3, acclaimed rapper Kendrick Lamar will, for the second consecutive year, be the last main stage act on the last night of Essence.
He’ll perform after Combs, who canceled his only previously scheduled Essence appearance in 2003. Assuming he makes it this year, Combs’ Family will include past and present artists from his Bad Boy label.
Ciara and the newly added Andra Day also are scheduled on the main stage July 3.
Day has previously performed in an Essence superlounge but will now graduate to the big stage in the main Superdome arena. “I’ve never been on a stage like that, so I don’t even know what to expect,” she said in an interview before being officially announced as an Essence performer. “But the festival itself is pretty magical. I try not to get too nervous, and things tend to work out.”
The final night’s superlounge acts will be MC Lyte, Dej Loaf, Cyril Neville, Leon Bridges, Kehlani, the New Breed Brass Band, Robert Glasper, BJ the Chicago Kid, the Brand New Heavies and Little Simz.
Radio personality Nephew Tommy, of the “Steve Harvey Show,” will once again emcee the main stage.
Single-night tickets are now on sale, starting at $50 plus service charges through Ticketmaster or at the Smoothie King Center box office. Multiple-night packages also are available.
In addition to the ticketed nighttime concerts, the long Essence weekend also includes free daytime empowerment seminars at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Scheduled speakers at the seminars include Tyra Banks, ballerina Misty Copeland, Tony-winning actress Patina Miller, best-selling author Terry McMillan, life coach Iyanla Vanzant, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Phaedra Parks, Cookie Johnson and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Several contemporary gospel singers, including Yolanda Adams, Travis Greene, Tasha Paige Lockhart and Kierra Sheard, will take part in a daytime tribute to the Clark Sisters at the Convention Center.
Go to essence.com/festival for additional information.
The Essence Festival is executive-produced by a division of Essence Communications, which publishes Essence magazine under the auspices of parent company Time Inc. The New Orleans-based Solomon Group produces the festival itself, including designing and building the stage.