After a five-year hiatus, the iconic Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly returns to the 2015 Essence Festival where they will headline the Friday, July 3 tribute to New Orleans.
As a celebration of The Big Easy for the 10th anniversary since Hurricane Katrina, Essence’s July 3 concert will feature special moments of tribute to the city that has housed their festival for two decades.
For fifteen years, the iconic R&B and soul band closed out the Essence Festival weekend in New Orleans – and that one year in Houston – and concertgoers dressed in white would dance in the aisles until nearly 3am while Beverly crooned the band’s endless hits. The concert would conclude with the electric slide line dance while the band performed their anthem, ‘Before I Let Go.’
For whatever reason, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was not invited back for the 2010 festival and Mary J. Blige was billed as the new “festival closer.” The last night of the festival, Blige decided to have Earth, Wind & Fire close out the weekend instead.
In 2013, AlwaysAList.com wrote a piece called “BET Launches Festival: Should Essence Be Worried?” that talked about the potential challenges the BET Experience posed for the Essence Festival. Held in Los Angeles during the BET Awards weekend, BET Experience is just days before the Essence Festival and had the potential pull from the Essence audience. We suggested then, two years ago, that Essence consider bringing back Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly.
Regardless, the famed soul band is back in business with Essence and joins this year’s festival lineup that already includes Blige, Usher, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar, Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu, Common, Kevin Hart and more.
Despite not having released new music in over two decades, Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly has remained one of the most influential groups in modern music and continues to play sold-out shows all over the world.