Janet Jackson to play 2024 Essence Fest instead of the Smoothie King Center this summer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Janet Jackson will make her fourth appearance at the 2024 Essence Festival of Culture this summer in New Orleans.

Jackson was originally scheduled to headline the Smoothie King Center on July 23 as part of her Together Again Summer 2024 tour, but her plans have changed. The appearance was canceled and now she's a scheduled headliner for one of the three nights of concerts as part of the annual festival, which this year runs from July 5 through July 7 in the Superdome, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Essence has not said on which date Jackson will perform.

Jackson previously performed at the event in 2010, 2018 and 2022. The last show sold out all 48,500 seats and was reportedly the highest grossing night in the festival's 30-year history.

Last week, Essence revealed that a reunion of the Cash Money Millionaires collective of rappers affiliated with the New Orleans label would take place during the festival. However, no artists have been specified beyond Cash Money co-founder Bryan “Baby” Williams, aka Birdman.

Festival producers have been rolling out the roster for the event piecemeal. Some Essence fans have taken to social media to express frustration with the late start and unusual one-at-a-time reveal, the newspaper reported.

In addition to the nightly concerts inside the Superdome, the festival will include programming on networking, finance, careers, wellness, fashion, beauty and more at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and other venues citywide.

Launched in 1995 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine, the festival has evolved into the world’s largest celebration of Black women, culture and communities, convening more than 530,000 people annually over the July Fourth weekend in New Orleans, Essence Communications Inc. has said.