Essence Music Festival announced late yesterday that the iconic Prince will headline the 2014 festival, which takes place July 3 – 6 next year in New Orleans. The announcement of The Purple One’s lead slot is the only headliner announced as of yet, however, the Essence team promises it will be quite a show, as 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the festival.
Prince has not played Essence Fest in 10 years, since he played the festival’s 10th anniversary edition at the Superdome in 2004. In fact, the 2004 Essence Festival was the last time that Prince played a large public concert in New Orleans, so this should be a big one. Just two years prior to his performance at the 10th Essence Fest during his Musicology tour, the Artist Presently Known as Prince did a concert at the Saenger Theatre in April of 2002, but before then had not performed in New Orleans since his 1998 tour date at UNO’s Lakefront Arena. At one point he was booked to be the Superbowl XXXI half-time show feature at the Superdome in 1997, a performance that was eventually cancelled.
In addition to the special 20th anniversary performance that Essence Fest promises from His Purple Highness next July, the company also announced a philanthropic partnership between Prince and Essence with the Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund (RDIF) for the 2014 festival. A community initiative that has not yet been detailed, Essence says, “will be led by the RDIF and encourages young people to harness the power of media and technology, and channel their creativity into computer coding.” Has The Purple One been moonlighting as a computer programmer too?
Essence Magazine‘s website, Essence.com, also posted a few fun Prince trivia lists today, including “Purple Reign: The A-Z of Prince” live performance photo set, “Prince Album Covers Through The Years” cover art retrospective, “Prince’s Epic Fashion Moments” fashion photo set, “10 Thing We Can Thank Prince For” and more. And if his new look lately is any indication, it is probably safe to assume that we can expect yet another reincarnation of the supremely talented multi-instrumentalist next summer on the Superdome stage.
Tickets for Essence Music Festival 2014 are already on sale now. OffBeat will have further announcements about the festival over the coming weeks. More info: www.essence.com. View some of OffBeat‘s Essence Music Festival 2013 photo sets and concert reviews.