The Essence Festival Of Culture 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival organizers said they decided to cancel the event in compliance with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell‘s recommendation that no large events take place in New Orleans this year.

Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson had been scheduled to headline the event.

“After continued monitoring of the evolving developments in the COVID-19 global pandemic and remaining in close contact and collaboration with our partners in the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana, we are confirming today that we will no longer move forward with the 2020 ESSENCE Festival of Culture live experience—and look forward to returning to New Orleans in 2021”, Essence said in a statement.

In the meantime, they announced that the new ESSENCE Studios streaming platform will host the first-ever ESSENCE Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition over July Fourth weekend.

“The virtual Festival will be a benefit celebration in honor and support of the City of New Orleans, which has been an incredible partner over the Festival’s 26 years and continues to be especially hard hit during this crisis,” the statement added.

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