With more than 450,000 attendees, the Essence Festival is a sight to behold. The annual bash, put on by our colleagues at Essence magazine in New Orleans, always features an incredible collection of performances by luminaries from the music and entertainment business. (Headliners this year: Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chance the Rapper. Not too shabby.)
But the festival, scheduled this year for June 29 to July 2, is more than evening spectacle. The daytime program events inside the convention center span food, beauty, and—this year especially—business and entrepreneurship.
Essence will host its first “Path to Power” conference that’s free for festival attendees and perfect for Fortune readers. There will be more than 40 sessions and workshops on the agenda for people to network and learn, covering topics such as brand marketing, startups, partnering with corporations, pivoting your company, sustainable business models, and government technology. Good stuff.
There are some great speakers, too. Among them: Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley, Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter, Jessica Matthews of Uncharted Play, Bari Williams of StubHub, and—my personal favorite—Percy Miller, a.k.a. Master P, the New Orleans native son and rapper turned investor and executive. (Say uhh!)
Essence partnered with the National Urban League, Minority Business Development Agency, U.S. Black Chambers, #YesWeCode (The Dream Corps), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council to put on the event.
Elsewhere at the festival, there’s a Shark Tank-style competition called “Pitch City” in partnership with the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce and, on the festival’s Empowerment stage, a conversation with Doug McMillon—CEO of the No. 1 company on the Fortune 500, Walmart. Not a bad way to spend a long weekend in the Big Easy.