Kanye, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Black Crowes Join U.S. Fest Circuit

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A trio of festivals announced their headliners today as festival season is about to kick off with next week's SXSW in Austin, TX. The Essence Music Festival in New Orleans revealed that Kanye West will headline this year's three-day event on the July 4th weekend. Essence also boasts performances by Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Chris Rock and Jill Scott. Approximately 200,000 people attended last year's fest.

In other festival news, Fergie, Sheryl Crow and Santana are among the performers at the 32nd annual Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, TN, on the weekend of May 2-4. Lou Reed, Cat Power, Aretha Franklin, the Black Crowes and Jerry Lee Lewis are also among the sixty acts performing.

Sheryl Crow, the Black Crowes and Fergie have also been recruited to play at SunFest in West Palm Beach, FL, from April 30th to May 4th. Also playing: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Morris Day & the Time, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Academy Is, Natasha Bedingfield and many more.

We'll kick festival season with on-the-spot coverage of SXSW, bringing you the best showcases, hottest new bands and video of live performances and interviews from Austin.