David Becker/Getty Images for Park MGMDespite previously announcing that it was still planning to move forward with its 2020 Essence Festival of Culture amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Essence Communications has now decided to postpone the annual event.
In a new statement, Essence says that after weeks of monitoring "the unfolding developments and updated information from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and public health agencies," it will now move the fest to closer to the fall.
"As we previously indicated, we were already moving forward with identifying and securing alternate dates and will be prepared to announce those shortly," the statement reads. "We are excited to share that previously announced talent will remain in our line-up for the postponed dates, and we will honor all tickets sold for prior scheduled performances."
"Continue to visit Essencefestival.com for new updates," the message adds.
“The Essence Festival of Culture is a beloved and highly-anticipated time of year in the City of New Orleans,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a statement.
“At the forefront of everything we do, public health and public safety are always our top priorities. With the significant spread of COVID-19, we are taking every precaution in the best interest of our residents, visitors, and all who attend and make ESSENCE the worldwide phenomenon that it is."
As previously reported, this year's Essence Fest, to be hosted by comedian Loni Love, includes powerhouse headliners Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars. It also celebrates Essence's 50th anniversary as a magazine.
Other entertainers scheduled to perform are Raphael Saadiq, Janelle Monae, Patti LaBelle, Jidenna, Ari Lennox, Estelle and many more.
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