NEW ORLEANS - The 2012 Essence Music Festival drew 413,000 people to New Orleans for the four-day event held over the Fourth of July weekend.
That's down two percent from the 422,000 who gathered for last year's festival, when it ran for three days.
This was the 18th anniversary of the festival, which features nightly concerts at the Superdome and free, daily "empowerment" seminars and community events at the city's convention center.
A fourth day was added this year to focus on youth and the next generation of stars, including Diggy Simmons, the OMG Girlz and Roshon Fegan.
Headliners included Aretha Franklin, Charlie Wilson, Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, Trey Songz, Chaka Khan, Fantasia, comedian Kevin Hart and D'Angelo.