When: June 30th-July 3rd
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Why Go: This annual celebration of black culture in America features a stacked lineup – blistering MC Kendrick Lamar, super-diva Mariah Carey, storied songwriter-producer Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and a reunion of Puff Daddy and the Family are just the tip of the iceberg. Maxwell will likely showcase music from his long-awaited BlackSUMMERS'night, which comes out on July 1st, the day he headlines the main stage. Speakers like supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Tyra Banks, life coach Iyanla Vanzant and the Reverend Al Sharpton will offer commentary, while seminars on starting a business and a bookstore spotlighting independent authors round out some of the non-musical attractions.
Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey, Maxwell, Puff Daddy and the Family, Charlie Wilson, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Robert Glasper Experiment, the Internet, Estelle, Jeremih, Tink, Tweet, Andra Day
Official Site: essence.com/festival