Two weeks ago, as I began to figure out my plans for the 2012 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, my SPIN magazine arrived in the mail. As I flipped through it, I saw a piece on up-and-coming artist Gary Clark Jr., who, according to the magazine, was performing at more major festivals than practically any other artist this summer. He was on my short list to see and interview once I arrived in New Orleans, so I was curious to see how crazy his touring schedule was. As I looked at the festivals listed, however, I saw a glaring exception. Essence wasn't listed as one of the festivals.
As weeks became days and the time came where I had to actually purchase a ticket to New Orleans, I asked some friends with whom I had covered Coachella or South by Southwest if they were making the trek down to Essence. I was surprised to receive very few affirmatives.