Essence Fest Ends With Record-Breaking Attendance

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The 20th anniversary of Essence Fest wrapped up with  record-breaking attendance. We caught up with festival goers as they were leaving the city.

As WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter reports, most who attended gave the event rave reviews.

From hotel entrances, to curbside at the airport, festival goers are packing up, and heading home.

Essence Fest 2014 has come to an end.

“The Essence Festival was put together very nice so I really enjoyed it. It was great,” one woman said.

And it was a record-breaking year.

More than 550-thousand visitors made their way to the Superdome to see more than 80-acts perform.

“Oh it was wonderful,” Ivory Williams said.

Williams and her crew traveled from Denver. It was her first time.

Trotter asked, “What did you like most? Seeing all the people, all the food, prince, Mary J. Erykah Badu, Charlie Wilson; all of them,” she replied.

“Yeah it was wonderful. Prince, prince did his thing; and Charlie Wilson.”

Law enforcement anticipated large crowds.

And on the heels of the Bourbon Street shootings just more than a week ago, extra officers were deployed in the downtown corridor.

State police, and officers with the NOPD were visibly posted to help keep crowds safe.

“I want to just give a special shout out to the men and women of the New Orleans police department who handled themselves professionally and courteously and made all of our visitors feel safe; which is critically important,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

With city leaders focused on making Essence a safe experience, visitors could focus more on the fun.

This group is now headed back to Atlanta a bit fatigued, but with fond memories.

“A little tired, yeah. Turned up in NOLA all weekend, but I’m feeling pretty good, feeling pretty good,” the visitor said.

Essence is said to have generated 100-million in economic impact.

Organizers are already planning for next year. The goal is the make the festival bigger and better.