NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The 19th annual Essence Festival is over, but planners for Essence and the city of New Orleans say they've already started work on the next one.
The festival's contract with the city ends after the 2014 event, which will mark its 20th year. Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc., says work on next year's festival has already begun.
The four-day festival set a record, drawing more than 540,000 visitors to the city to participate in its free daily empowerment seminars at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and nightly ticketed concerts at the Superdome.
A sold-out performance by Beyonce closed this year's festival, which also featured singers Charlie Wilson, Maxwell, New Edition, Jill Scott, Brandy, Trey Songz, Janelle Monae, Keyshia Cole and many others.