The 2020 Essence Festival of Culture is officially canceled due to coronavirus. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recommended the cancellations of large events in the city for 2020, which Essence will support.

Essence will refund tickets sold for the festival with a 2021 return date.

In place of an in-person festival, Essence Studios will create a streaming festival. The first-ever Essence Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition will go down over the July 4th weekend as a multi-day experience and benefit celebration. The Virtual Edition will also support the city of New Orleans who has been impacted by the virus.

“ESSENCE and the City of New Orleans have a partnership that thrives in good times and is made even stronger in challenging times,” said Mayor Cantrell. “We share an uncompromised commitment to the best interest of our local community and our tourist community, and the priorities right now are providing support to those who have been affected by the disproportionate impact of the pandemic here in New Orleans and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our great city in 2021 for the return of the ESSENCE Festival of Culture and to once again helping to create such an unmatched and magical experience.”

You can read more about the cancellation and virtual event here.