Essence Festival of Culture brings economic and tourism boost to New Orleans


There’s a party happening in the Big Easy this weekend. The 29th Annual Essence Festival of Culture, the nation’s largest music festival, kicks off today through July 3. New Orleans and Company Senior Vice President of Communications Kelly Schulz says the importance of this event is big…

“It has an economic impact anywhere between $200 to $3oo million and it brings celebrities, journalists, and dignitaries from all over the world. So it is a huge honor to have Essence happening in our city this weekend.”

The festival expects tens of thousands of visitors for one of the largest celebrations of Black art and culture in the country. Hotel occupancy rates in 2022 were hovering at 93 percent in and near downtown, according to an informal survey by New Orleans & Co. Schultz says numbers are still holding strong.

“We surveyed the hotels in New Orleans. There are about 26,000 hotel rooms in the downtown and French Quarter area. They’re telling us for Friday and Saturday night they’re at about 90 percent occupancy. That’s pretty consistent with where we were last year.”

Last year’s festival had a $327 million impact on the city’s economy. Schultz says local businesses are anticipating an increase in customers around the city. She says with big luminaries and celebrities in the city, attendance is expected to increase over the weekend.

“The Vice President of the United States is going to be coming. It’s going to be the fiftieth anniversary of hip hop. So there are going to be a lot of people here.”

Visit or download the Essence Festival app for a line-up of festivities.

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