How To Attend The Real Essence Festival, Because 'Girls Trip' Will Have You Packing Your Bags

Girls Trip comes out July 21, which means that everyone should start gathering their BFFs to plan to see Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and newcomer Tiffany Haddish in this female-friendship focused film. While you and your gal pals might make a trip to the local theater to see the movie, the ladies in Girls Trip go on their own adventure to the Essence Festival in New Orleans. In the movie, so much silly debauchery, female support, and straight-out fun take place that it will probably make you and your friends wish you were there too. Luckily, the NOLA-set festival is an actual annual event, and while it might not include zip-lining across Bourbon Street IRL, you'll still want to take part in the festivities, so here's how to how to go to the real Essence Festival.

The weekend-long event takes place in the end of June through early July and according to its website, it is filled with music, empowerment, community and entertainment. Hosted by, you guessed it, Essence, the event features plenty of musical performances and talks, and it sounds insanely fun. Even better, it also has a mission to offer people of color "a fresh outlook on how to build a better future for yourself and for your community," according to the festival's website. Girls Trip definitely hits on both the fun and the empowering notes of what Essence Fest offers, and it seems like the perfect setting for reconnecting with your BFFs.

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The 2016 Essence Fest lineup included Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey, and Ciara, and earlier this year, legends like Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, XSCAPE, Chaka Khan, and (a literal legend) John Legend performed at the event. So, yeah, it's lit, and tickets can be purchased for single night shows at the Superdome along with festival passes for the entire weekend.

Tickets for the 2018 Essence Festival are not being sold yet, but they will be announced by Essence — most likely this upcoming winter. It totally seems worth the trip to New Orleans, and in the words of Haddish's Girls Trip character, you'll likely find so many great dance clubs smelling like "Hennessy and booty sweat" that you may never want to leave the city.

Girls Trip is basically the best advertisement for Essence Festival for anyone who wasn't already clamoring to go to it. Think of the film as Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion meets The Hangover — with even better music. It's a must-see until you get to experience the real Essence Fest next summer.