Summer 2015's 50 Must-See Music Festivals

From Jazzfest to Electric Daisy Carnival and beyond, a guide to the season's biggest and loudest bashes

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Essence Festival
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Recording artist Mary J. Blige performs the 2014 Essence Music Festival on July 5, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bennett Raglin/WireImage25/50

Essence Festival

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

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