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ESSENCE Festival 2016 is finally upon us, and with festivities just hours away, ESSENCE has announced they will celebrate the life of Prince with a New Orleans-themed tribute on Sunday (July 3).

“ESSENCE Festival had a very special relationship with Prince, who headlined our 20th anniversary event in 2014 with a performance that was truly legendary,” they stated Tuesday (June 28). “Like the rest of the world, we shed purple tears after his passing in April.”

The tribute is slated to set off the festival’s closing night with Prince’s band – The New Power Generation — along with Larry Graham, Marsha Ambrosius, Kelly Price, D-Nice, and Doug E. Fresh. The stars will be joined by NOLA mainstays Luke James, Stooges Brass Band, and The Roots of Music. A ceremony featuring other unnamed “special guests” will follow directly after.

The newly added Prince tribute isn’t the only exciting thing happening this weekend. Below is a daily rundown of what else to expect at ESSENCE Fest 2016 (schedule subject to change). If you’ve yet to purchase a ticket, you can still do so here. The festival is going down from June 30-July 4.

ESSENCE Fest 2016 Schedule (via

Friday, July 1

11:45 p.m. to 1 a.m.: Maxwell

10:10 p.m. to 11:20 p.m.: New Edition

8:50 p.m. to 9:50 p.m.: Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.: Tyrese

6:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.: Faith Evans

6:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Avery Wilson

Superlounge performances: Digable Planets, Daley, Eric Bellinger, Lion Babe, The Internet, Tweet, Estelle, Mali Music, V. Bozeman, Kelly Price, Zakes Bantwini, and Sky Wanda.

Saturday, July 2

11:00 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.: Mariah Carey

9:10 p.m. to 10:40 p.m.: Charlie Wilson

8:30 p.m. to 8:50 p.m.: Common

7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Jeremih

6:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.: Estelle

Superlounge performances: Doug E. Fresh, Tink, Jidenna, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, St. Beauty, Lalah Hathaway, Judith Hill, Wizkid, and Lady Leshurr.

Sunday, July 3

11:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.: Puff Daddy & The Family

9:40 p.m. to 10:55 p.m.: Kendrick Lamar

8:35 p.m. to 9:20 p.m.: Ciara

7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.: Andra Day

7:00 p.m.: Prince tribute

Superlounge performances: MC Lyte, Dej Loaf, Cyril Neville, Leon Bridges, Kehlani, New Breed Brass Band, Robert Glasper, BJ The Chicago Kid, The Brand New Heavies, and Little Simz.

SOURCE: ESSENCE,, YouTube | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter

ESSENCE Fest 2016 Is Honoring Prince With A NOLA-Themed Tribute  was originally published on