*The Essence Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend as organizers expect attendance to surpass last year’s record-breaking turnout.
The four-day event, which kicks off today and runs through Sunday (July 6) in New Orleans, will feature entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences during the day and an all-star line up of entertainers each night. In all, 80 performers will be showcased on 11 stages, including Prince, who will headline the festival, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lionel Richie, Nas and The Roots.
More than 120 speakers are slated to appear at this year’s Essence Festival, which is one of the largest live events in the U.S. Speakers include Steve Harvey, Alicia Keys, Cynthia Bailey, Nia Long and Sherri Shepherd.
In addition, MSNBC personalities the Rev. Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris-Perry, Joy Reid and Tamron Hall will be on hand Friday through Sunday to engage festivalgoers as part of the Growing Hope conversation on various issues at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
For more information about the 2014 Essence Festival, check out the video below: