20th annual Essence Fest kicks off today - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

20th annual Essence Fest kicks off today

En Vogue at the Essence Music Festival in 2009 (Source: Wikicommons) En Vogue at the Essence Music Festival in 2009 (Source: Wikicommons)

STACEY PLAISANCE

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Music, food and families will fill the riverfront alongside the Mississippi River as the 20th annual Essence Festival kicks off Thursday in New Orleans.

DJ Marquis kicks off the party in Woldenberg Park at 11 a.m. Thursday. The day also includes live music by New Orleans' Corey Henry's Treme Funktet and national acts including Cupid, gospel singer Erica Campbell and the old school rap group, Rappers Delight.

The celebration of black culture and R&B music started as a one-time party in 1995. It has since blossomed into an annual festival filled with music, food, entertainment and empowerment seminars.

This year's night concert headliners in the Superdome include Prince, Lionel Richie, Charlie Wilson, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz and Nas, who performs Thursday.

The festival runs through July 6.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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