When: July 2nd-5th
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Why Go: The long-running Essence Festival is both a musical and cultural experience. Daytime events include an "Empower U" conference with panel discussions, a career fair and speakers such as Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra and Iyanla Vanzant. Nighttime is for concerts by superstars like Mary J. Blige and 2015 Super Bowl MVP Missy Elliott. If you just want to have fun all weekend, skip "Empower U" and head to the Essence DJ Party Series at the Sugar Mill, where Funkmaster Flex and DJ Drama will command the dance floor.
Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Usher, Common, Mystikal, Erykah Badu, Floetry, Bilal, Robert Glasper, Lecrae, Trey Songz, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, Nico & Vinz
Official Site: essence.com/festival