STATEMENT FROM ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. ON THE 2020 ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE
(April 15, 2020)
“New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell bravely recommended yesterday that no large events take place in New Orleans in 2020, and ESSENCE fully supports that decision. 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.
We are excited to now announce that our ‘ESSENCE Benefit Series to Fight COVID-19’ will raise money and provide support for businesses and organizations in Black communities across the country, and that our first-ever ESSENCE Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition taking place over July 4th weekend will be included in this effort as a multi-day experience and benefit celebration. This Festival will be hosted on our new ESSENCE Studios streaming platform, which will extend the experience to communities everywhere providing unfettered access to the power, purpose and party that has made the ESSENCE Festival the largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience in the world. Women across the globe and their families will engage in interactive, live opportunities to be inspired, empowered, entertained and transformed as they enter a new economic, spiritual and wellness journey ahead. 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.
From the beginning, we have shared that the health, safety and well-being of our Festival-goers, local citizens and others who contribute to making the Festival such a unique experience were our top concerns and would be the foremost considerations in our decision-making. While we initially hoped that a reschedule from our July 2020 dates to later in the fall would be feasible, current information and projections by public health officials and agencies have made it increasingly clear that any large-scale events this year could potentially and unnecessarily put attendees and surrounding communities at risk. So, what would have typically been a very difficult decision for us was not because people come first, and we will continue to do everything that we can to serve our community during this time. We will honor all tickets sold for the 2020 Festival in 2021 and will also offer full refunds. Ticket holders should visit essencefestival.com for further information.
‘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.”
‘We greatly appreciate the Essence family for working with the City of New Orleans and Louisiana as we face this ongoing public health crisis,’ said Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana. ‘We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Essence family and look forward to continuing the celebration in 2021.’
We continue to understand that in these times, accurate information and critical resources from trusted sources are vital. So, ESSENCE created the ESSENCE of the Matter: COVID-19’s Impact on Black America digital platform to provide Black women and communities with the tools, information, resources, solutions, inspiration and empowerment needed to address the multitude of issues arising from this pandemic. ESSENCE Studios will deliver these live virtual experiences and produce the content our community needs as we continue to navigate this unprecedented time together and beyond. Experiences to date have included our first-ever virtual ESSENCE Wellness Houseä and ESSENCE CARES Act information sessions, with the next – the ESSENCE & New Voices Entrepreneur Summit – included in our Benefit Series and scheduled for Friday, April 24. Visit essence.com for more information. In addition, our editorial team is producing daily content on our dedicated page to educate our community on the coronavirus, its impact, best practices for prevention and how we can not only survive, but thrive, through this time.’
Dear ABFF Community,
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our community, including our attendees and staff.
With the support of our partners, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the 24th American Black Film Festival to October 21 – 25, 2020. All existing passes, master class tickets, sponsorship arrangements and bookings will roll over and remain valid for the October event.
We remain committed to continuing our 24-year legacy of being a place of inspiration and community for artists and content creators, and look forward to another successful festival in Miami Beach this fall.
We thank you for your patience and for putting your trust in us as we work through these challenging circumstances.
Please check www.abff.com for further updates.
Stay safe and take care,
The ABFF Team
Updated – April 10th, 2020
The 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve will be rescheduled from May 2, 2020 to September 5, 2020 and the 146th Longines Kentucky Oaks will be rescheduled from May 1, 2020 to September 4, 2020.
Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen, stated: “Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community. As the situation evolved, we steadily made all necessary operational adjustments to provide the safest experience and environment. The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe, necessary decisions and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic.
Our team is united in our commitment to holding the very best Kentucky Derby ever and certainly the most unique in any of our lifetimes. While we are always respectful of the time-honored traditions of the Kentucky Derby, our Company’s true legacy is one of resilience, the embracing of change and unshakeable resolve.”
Your Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby tickets purchased for the originally scheduled dates are automatically valid for the new race dates. You may arrive on the new dates in September with your printed ticket or mobile ticket to be scanned for entry at the gates. Information on a new ticket shipment date will be sent directly to ticket purchasers.
If you have purchased a ticket and are not able to attend the newly scheduled race dates, click here for more information. If your ticket was purchased from a vendor or secondary market website other than Churchill Downs, Ticketmaster.com or Derby Experiences, please contact that site directly. We are unable to process refunds for those tickets.
Racing on Tuesday through Thursday of Derby Week (April 28-30, 2020) has been rescheduled to Tuesday through Thursday, September 1-3, 2020 respectively. The Tuesday April 28, 2020 Dawn at the Downs event has been rescheduled to September 1, 2020 and the Wednesday 29, 2020 Dawn at the Downs event is rescheduled to September 2, 2020. Saturday, April 25th has been rescheduled to September 19th, 2020.
Derby Week tickets purchased for the originally scheduled dates are automatically valid for the new race dates. You may arrive on the new dates in September with your printed ticket or mobile ticket to be scanned for entry at the gates. If you have purchased a ticket and are not able to attend the newly scheduled race dates, click here for more information
Please click here for additional commonly asked questions.
(For information about the Kentucky Derby Museum, please click here.)
In the best interest of our guests, employees and the community around us amid public health concerns regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, Churchill Downs Racetrack has made the difficult decision to voluntarily suspend simulcasting operations, effective Sunday, March 15. In addition, the reopening of its stable areas at both Churchill Downs Racetrack and the auxiliary training center Trackside will be delayed to Tuesday, April 28. The opening of the 2020 Spring Meet, originally scheduled for April 25, has been postponed and a determination of the exact starting date will be made closer to the opening of the stable areas.
The safety and health of our guests, team members and participants remains our primary concern at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We are monitoring COVID-19 developments with steadfast vigilance in connection with resources provided by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control as well as local and state officials.
There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We will work with the relevant authorities to determine when it is safe to reopen.
If you plan to attend a private event that was scheduled to be held at Churchill Downs, you should contact the organizer directly regarding rescheduling updates