Friday, January 17, 2014

Your Guide to Essence Music Festival 2014 - Single and Ready to Mingle!

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Hey Beautiful People,
This is the first Blog of 2014 and it came about from a casual conversation I was having with a friend on facebook (Thanks Amanda). She mentioned that she planned on going to the Essence Music Festival this year and this would be her first time going! That conversation gave me the idea to write this "How To Guide" on what to expect when attending the Essence Festival.

Coincidently, this is not the first time that friends have asked for my help on preparing to go to the Essence Festival. I've been telling all my friends for years that they need to go at least one time!

Now I'm no Expert, so of course, I had to recruit some friends of mines to give their suggestions on how to prepare for the 2014 Essence Festival. With that being said...Let me formally introduce you to -

"The Newbie" (aka Timika),
"The Frequent Flyer" (Me) and
"The Veterans" (aka Nikki, Abike and Angela).

Last year it was Timika's first time going to the Essence Festival, so pay attention! This is

The Essence Festival from the "Newbie" perspective.....

Where does one begin...... From the moment we exited the plane the excitement began. Spending dollars in the Wheel of Fortune slots machines, taking pictures in front of abstract art, spotting celebrities (Chef Roble and Mary Mary) at the airport  and  getting on a  Minibus filled with other excited festival goers.  My immediate impression was Wow there are a lot of black people here.  Nice black people!  We were so nice towards one another it was overwhelming.  Everyone spoke, complimented each other on their hairstyles, clothing, etc. Once settled into our hotel room we began exploring the city.  Although my travel companion (Sheda) informed me that we would be doing a lot of walking and to bring appropriate shoes, I did not heed the warning. I implore my fashionistas to find cute shoes that are suitable for a lot, tons, miles, of walking.  Transportation in the city is limited as it is so much traffic that it takes hours to go one mile so walking is the most effective mode of transportation.  So again shoes that are comfy will be your best bet.... Remember, women judge each other...MEN could care less if you have on Louboutin or Pumas.  For Essence go with the Pumas!  Trust me there are SO MANY MEN that you will have tons to choose from.  If  a man  is sweating you about your shoes move on to the next and there will be a next and next..Now to the Men... 
I had never seen so many beautiful black men in one place!! Black men who purchase meals and drink.  A beautiful woman will be spoiled in New Orleans.   Black men are in abundance but there are other nationalities there that love black women, too.  Everywhere you turn there are opportunities to mingle!
Concerts and the Convention Center

We made the mistake of not buying tickets to all of the concerts.  Despite the sound in the Superdome being horrible it gives you something cool to do each night.  The majority of the cool people that you would want to hang out with are at the concerts. In addition, if you plan on going to any White Parties get your ticket early! It wasn't that fun but there was tons of people and you wont want to miss it. On to The Convention Center was CROWDED.  I'm sure there are people that love the convention center experience however that was not me. One day in the convention center was enough for me, however I did want to go on Sunday morning but um...... I overslept.  I guess all that Saturday night partying had me out of commission!

THANK YOU Timika for contributing to the Blog!

Now if Timika's story has successfully convinced you to I think it has... It's my turn to tell you what you should do next!

"The Frequent Flyer" - I've been going to the Essence Festival for the past few years now and although I lost count on how many times I make it a point to go EVERY OTHER year, so I don't get tired of going. But this year I am making an exception. There is no way in the world I'm missing out on Prince performing at their 20 Year Anniversary Party!

Here's what I typically do in preparation for "Heaven on Earth" (wink) -

1)    Your first priority is to Book your hotel room ASAP. Preferably Thursday through Monday. Try not to wait until the last minute because then you might get stuck with the "leftovers" or may not get a room at all. Try to stay in the French Quarters on Canal street at one of the major hotels (The Courtyard Marriott, The Sheraton, Astor Crowne Plaza, etc.) If you can't get a room there then try to stay somewhere in the close vicinity by Harrah's Casino or The Convention Center. If all else fails try a hotel on Bourbon street. It's going to be a little noisy (depending on your room location) and more expensive because despite the "ratchetness" that takes place on that street, they actually have some nice hotels. Please note - Bourbon Street can get dirty, ratchet and stinky because people are out there every night partying, drinking and littering so take heed (you've been warned).
**Be prepared to pay a deposit amount when you make the reservation (1st night room and tax, sometimes 2 nights depending on how bougie the hotel is, LOL). You then have time to pay off the balance at your leisure right up to June before you go. But make sure you read the fine print...Every hotel has their own requirements!!

2)    As far as roommates it's based solely on your preference. I like to be comfortable when I'm out of town so I have from 1-2 people in the same room. 2 queen beds for me and my rookie (Timi) and of course (it goes without saying) that I will share a bed with my twin sister if she ever decides to crash the party at the last minute (she's always working...gotta make that money). It's not like we are going to be cooped up in the hotel that long anyway! If you are asleep in New Orleans then you AIN'T havin FUN, Lol. Take a shower, a power nap and get your ass right back out there! Now my own personal opinion is to strongly discourage big groups unless everyone already knows each other very well and have traveled together in the past (i.e. The Veterans, who you will meet in a moment). Be careful...You may go out there as friends, then fall out over some stupid shit when you get there and come back as enemies, Bwhahahahahhaha. Nobody wants that!

3)    Sign up for Airfare Alerts with your favorite airlines. Sometimes you can catch a good deal online. I got really lucky last year and paid a good price for my flight because I received an Alert "right on time" (code for - Right when I got paid, LOL).

4)    Then sign up for the Essence Festival Newsletter on to get the latest information about the Artist Line-Up for that weekend. The Super Dome concert arena is enormous! However you need to be mindful of which artist is performing on which day so you know which concert dates to buy. Now this is where Timika and I agree to disagree. I do not recommend you buy tickets to all 3 concerts because you then have to commit yourself to go every night. That's a lot of money and it can become time consuming. There are other events going on at night you just have to make some new friends and find out "where the party at"! Now, this year I just may have to go to ALL three concerts because PRINCE is going to be there and I KNOW the Artist Line-Up EVERY NIGHT is going to be RIDICULOUS!! I am forewarning everyone that you must have "comfortable flat shoes" ready because you are going to be doing a lot of walking each night! And make sure you eat at the Superdome or hit up a food cart afterwards because most of the restaurants will be closed by the time you get out. 

5)    Keep your eyes and ears open for the "Celebrity" hosted parties, ALL White Party's, Party Boat cruises, etc... I can't guarantee that all the parties are going to be "poppin" but sometimes you have to just go with it and try it out, It just might be "off the hook". The one we went to Kevin Hart came through to party with us!

6)    It's Hot as Hell out there - so dress cute but cool and always be ready for that unexpected rain shower!

Last but Not Least "The Veterans" Perspective...

Nikki and her girls were going to the Essence Festival before I even knew there was an Essence Festival, LOL. Her crew was deep and these women proudly represent the "Infinite Journey Book Club". Although they haven't been in a couple of years when they were going they went EVERY year and brought New Orleans to its Knees...I'm so mad that I was never able to go at the same time they were out there partying. But all that will end this year as The Essence Festival is celebrating their 20th Anniversary and IJBC will be there in Full Effect! This trip is definitely going to be laced with Shenanigans! So I strongly suggest you make arrangements to attend.

Here's what the Ladies of IJBC had to say...

Be prepared to walk as it is very difficult to get a cab during this particular weekend. Be smart and use your common sense. Don't bring the designer bag that's too big. We recommend you carry a small purse, fanny pack, backpack or cross body bag. Carry small bills and be aware of thieves! Plan on spending approximately $100 to $200 a day (eating, drinking and partying). Most importantly do not walk around New Orleans at night by yourself, always have someone with you! You can never be too careful. Dress your age and wear what compliments your figure. Spanxs are your friend, LOL. Make up is optional (unless you really need it). Bring the basics - light foundation, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick and blush. It's HOT AS HELL out there and your makeup will come off when you are partying at Razzoo's! Ladies please have your Hair Whipped - suggested hairstyles: weave, up do, ponytail, braids, kinky twists, afro puffs, whatever, etc. There is someone for everyone! Take advantage of the Amenities in your hotel. Bring a bathing suit so you can sit by the pool and have a cocktail. We discourage any shopping at the malls because they are either "high end expensive" or "low end" and don't have a good selection. Save your money and try and win some at Harrah's Casino instead. Bring everything you need and know that CVS is on the corner if you forget anything. We are telling you now to bring a compact size umbrella or a pancho that fits in your purse because there are ALWAYS unexpected rain showers! Do some research and find out what there is to do in New Orleans. For example, take a Trolley car or riverboat ride, visit some historical places, try out different restaurants as there is always a "happy hour" going on somewhere. We highly recommend you eat at Deanie's in the French Quarter and have one of their Hurricane's. You should also make sure you go to Pat O'Brien's and order a Hurricane there too! Now The Convention Center is always packed with vendors, celebrity guests and freebies. Your hotel concierge should be able to give you a list of scheduled events you can attend so you can plan your weekend accordingly. Most importantly, pace yourself! New Orleans isn't going anywhere. Long gone are the days where we use to drink ourselves under the table. If you need to take a nap then go to the room, refuel and be prepared to...keep the party going...later on that night! If you get hungry at 2am you can always stop at the local Popeye's where the lines are long, the workers are rude but the chicken is good, LOL. Also, don't forget to make time to go to Cafe Du Mon for the beignets. Eat them fresh because they are Delicious!

Nikki, Abike and Angela
for contributing to the Blog!

Well Ladies I hope this helps! Go to for more detailed information.
Since I still have 6 months to countdown until the REAL FUN begins...
 The Adventures of SingleNFabulous must go on. 
Hopefully I can find some other shenanigans to get into in the meanwhile so...Stay tuned. Smooches!


  1. Thank you for taking my excitement to a whole new level!!!!!! Just what a newbie needed!!!!!! :) <3

  2. Two years later and this info has taken my excitement up a notch. I can't wait! Thanks for the advice :)

  3. Two years later and this info has taken my excitement up a notch. I can't wait! Thanks for the advice :)

    1. You're very welcome Terri Love! Have lots of fun and be safe. You're going to have a Blast!