Essence Communications Inc. has released the following statement concerning the status of the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture in light of the Covid-19 outbreak:
"We know that we are all focused on the health of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities, and with 16 weeks until the scheduled 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, we wanted to provide an update to our community and partners regarding our plans in light of coronavirus/COVID-19.
Our first priority will always be the safety and well-being of our Festival-goers and everyone who contributes to making the ESSENCE Festival of Culture such an enriching, entertaining and incredible experience, and we will continue to evaluate the situation and use all available resources and intelligence to that end. We are closely monitoring the unfolding developments and updated information from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health agencies and our partners in the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana.
Based on the latest information, including increasing public health interventions and measures being implemented domestically and internationally, and the considerable amount of time to assess and respond to developments between now and July, we are planning to proceed with the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture as currently scheduled, July 1-5 in New Orleans. Still, as a precautionary and proactive measure and with health as the foremost consideration, we are also identifying and securing alternate dates to ensure that we can adjust as quickly and seamlessly as possible in the event that circumstances require. Should that happen, we will honor all tickets sold for prior scheduled dates.
In the meantime, we are excited to share more about our daytime empowerment programming and our nighttime concert line-up — including headliners Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson — as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ESSENCE and look forward to seeing everyone in July.
‘ESSENCE is a multi-cultural, multi-generational treasure in the City of New Orleans and this year, with the return to Ghana, we've come full circle,’ said Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans. ‘However, with the commemoration of our past, we must lean on wisdom and sound judgement to shape our future. Public health and public safety will always remain top priorities. As we continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19, know that we are taking every precaution to operate in the best interest of the attendees who make ESSENCE what it is.’
ESSENCE will continue to provide updates to our valued community of Festival-goers and partners regarding any new developments."