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Will Essence Music Festival Guests be subject to extreme hotel policies in 2014?

20th Anniversary
20th Anniversary
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Essence is gearing up for its 20th anniversary of their renowned Music Festival.

The festival is one of the largest events celebrating African Americans in the US and hundreds of thousands of people descend upon the city of New Orleans every year to attend the “Party with a purpose.”

However, what the Essence Music Festival is not aware of (or at least not addressing) are the rude and extreme policy practices the hotels, mainly in the French Quarters, have been exercising on their guest during their stay.

Horror stories of guest being abruptly ejected from hotels with little or no explanation, extreme overbooking, and unreasonable demands as well as hugely inflated prices have began distracting festival-goers from the culturally diverse and uplifting platform that Essence has long provided for their guests.

And what can guest do about it?

Apparently nothing as other hotels are beginning to adopt this strict form of being a guest at their hotel.

Last year, the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel located in the historic French Quarters off of the legendary Bourbon and Canal Street ejected guests with unlisted rules and no explanation besides the fact that the manager did not like the guests’ attitude or actions (none of which were illegal or dangerous).

In one instance, which was witnessed in its entirety, the guest was given less than 20 minutes to pack her belongings(yes I said her) while a male attendant with the hotel waited in the door for her to pack personal belongings including undergarments and feminine personal hygiene products.

The attendant was instructed, by the hotel manager, “not to let the door close” while she gathered her things.
A statement from the manager was requested but he, as well as several other staff members, declined.

There was a staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous out of fear of losing his job that stated, “…the staff in general sympathized with the guest.”

Crowne Plaza is not the only one to construct rules enforced specifically for EMF guest, this year the Sheraton Hotel posted a list of rules that stipulated that all guest must wear wristbands in order to gain entry to the hotel and new rate quotes went into effect, with no formal pre-notifications to guest, that only included two guest instead of the typical four to a room universal rule that normally applies to a hotel stay.

How much more can festival goers take before they find other ways to spend their precious time off work and hard earned money? And what will this mean for the future of the EMF?

On an EMF Facebook group, festival goers suggested staying at smaller hotels, finding hotels outside the French quarters and encouraging the Essence Festival to hold its festival in other deserving towns like Memphis, St Louis, or Houston (where it was held in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina).’s KC Fashion columnist LeAndrea Mack has been admitted as press at the EMF and will be staying in one of these hotels inside of the French Quarters.

In addition to bringing you the latest on style, fashion, and EMF events & trends, she plans to interview guests and document any unfair practices. Stay tuned!

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