NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The 2020 Essence Festival has been officially canceled for 2020.
On Tuesday, Mayor Cantrell said big events like Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest and Essence Festival should redirect their efforts to 2021, saying that no big events should be allowed this year.
Cantrell says she’s already been in talks with the coordinators of those big events and says there’s more that will come about in the future.
She says that it is not only New Orleans and Louisiana to consider. There are tourists from neighboring states and around the country who will be going through their varying coronavirus fights.
A festival spokesperson released a statement Wednesday morning saying, "New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell bravely recommended yesterday that no large events take place in New Orleans in 2020, and ESSENCE fully supports that decision. After continued monitoring of the evolving developments in the COVID-19 global pandemic and remaining in close contact and collaboration with our partners in the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, we are confirming today that we will no longer move forward with the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture live experience – and look forward to returning to New Orleans in 2021.
We are excited to now announce that our ‘ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19’ will raise money and provide support for businesses and organizations in Black communities across the country, and that our first-ever ESSENCE Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition taking place over July 4th weekend will be included in this effort as a multi-day experience and benefit celebration. This Festival will be hosted on our new ESSENCE Studios streaming platform, which will extend the experience to communities everywhere providing unfettered access to the power, purpose and party that has made the ESSENCE Festival the largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience in the world. Women across the globe and their families will engage in interactive, live opportunities to be inspired, empowered, entertained and transformed as they enter a new economic, spiritual and wellness journey ahead. The virtual Festival will be a benefit celebration in honor and support of the City of New Orleans, which has been an incredible partner over the Festival’s 26 years and continues to be especially hard hit during this crisis.
From the beginning, we have shared that the health, safety and well-being of our Festival-goers, local citizens and others who contribute to making the Festival such a unique experience were our top concerns and would be the foremost considerations in our decision-making. While we initially hoped that a reschedule from our July 2020 dates to later in the fall would be feasible, current information and projections by public health officials and agencies have made it increasingly clear that any large-scale events this year could potentially and unnecessarily put attendees and surrounding communities at risk. So, what would have typically been a very difficult decision for us was not because people come first, and we will continue to do everything that we can to serve our community during this time. We will honor all tickets sold for the 2020 Festival in 2021 and will also offer full refunds. Ticket holders should visit essencefestival.com for further information."
Jazz Fest has postponed until Fall and French Quarter Fest has postponed until October.