Squads on point at Essence Empowerment

NEW ORLEANS-- For some the Essence Empowerment attendees, the day started right with getting fit and dancing it off.  According to Essence Festival's Candace Montgomery, they've got a lot in store for folks heading downtown this weekend.

Montgomery is in charge of live events, and she's say's they've laid all on the line,
"I can barely contain my my excitement. because you've been working on this for over a year. So to come here and the culmination of everything all at once, I can barely sleep at night actually."

Essence Fest claims this year as their biggest.  Montgomery says, "We've put a lot of effort and emphasis on trying to be more innovative, have more innovative programming, we have a larger footprint, previously 725,000 square feet, now at 900,00 sq ft."

The Empowerment Experience is once again free, but attendees are asked to download the festival app to enter.

Last year's runaway hit comedy 'Girls Trip', featuring 4 women to come to NOLA for Essence Fest has also been a boon to this year's festival. A fact not lost on the organizers, and an opportunity to capitalize on the trend.

"We have really kinda tapped into the whole mind set of 'squads' through our entire promotional campaign. We've been talking to people 'if your squad is your frat, your sorority, or your sister circle, your aunts and uncles, whatever your squad is, we've been telling you to bring them down, and people have been responding in droves," said Montgomery.