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Coca-Cola Presents the 2005 Essence Music Festival

NEW YORK, April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Essence Festivals, LLC., officials announced today Grammy Award-winning group Black Eyed Peas, best known for their party anthem "Let's Get It Started," will perform at the Cola Presents the 2005 Essence Music Festival on Sunday, July 3. The Black Eyed Peas will join previously announced artists Aretha Franklin, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Mo'Nique, and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Lionel Richie, John Legend, Teena Marie, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Kem, and many others. The Festival, set for July 1, 2, and 3 in New Orleans, will be one of the key highlights of a year-long celebration of ESSENCE magazine's 35th birthday.

The Coca-Cola Presents the 2005 Essence Music Festival, known as "the party with a purpose," is the nation's largest annual African-American event and gathering of musical talent in the world. The Festival has become a destination of choice for families and friends as they schedule their reunions. This multigenerational Festival offers free Empowerment Seminars during the day, and exciting performances at night where Festivalgoers can dance and sing along with the biggest names in entertainment -- rhythm and blues, classic soul, hip-hop, neo-soul and jazz -- all on five stages within the Louisiana Superdome.

The Essence Empowerment Seminars will feature an amazing lineup of renowned speakers, authors and national leaders at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The Convention Center is also home to the Essence Marketplace. In the Essence Marketplace, artists from throughout the country offer an array of quality arts and crafts that reflect Black culture. There will also be a delectable offering of the city's famous cuisine, along with sponsor activities, festival souvenirs and a book fair with author book signings.

Festivalgoers can purchase tickets at or call (800) 488-5252, (504) 522-5555 (New Orleans) or (225) 761-8400 (Baton Rouge). Tickets are $35, $45, $55, $60, $75 and a very limited number in the Gold Circle section at $125. Tickets are subject to additional service charges.

Hotel accommodations, airfare and complete festival travel packages are available through Destination Management, Inc., the Festival's official tour operator, by calling (800) 762-9523, weekdays 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. CST, or visiting . For more travel information, see the April 2005 issue of ESSENCE or log on to .

The Coca-Cola Company is the Festival's presenting sponsor for the eighth consecutive year. The Coca-Cola Presents the 2005 Essence Music Festival's major sponsors are Budweiser/Bud Light, The City of New Orleans, Kraft Foods and McDonald's. In addition, HBO, Southwest Airlines, and the US Army will serve as official sponsors for the Festival. The names of the other Festival sponsors will be announced at a later date.

The Coca-Cola Presents the 2005 Essence Music Festival is produced by Essence Festivals, LLC., in association with Festival Productions of New Orleans. Essence Festivals, LLC., is a division of Essence Communications (EC). EC is also the publisher of ESSENCE magazine. ESSENCE, after 34 years, continues to be the preeminent lifestyle magazine of African-American women.

Source: Essence Communications, Inc.

CONTACT: Rhonda Evans of Essence Communications, Inc., +1-212-642-0676

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