Road to #EssenceFest – Bentonville, AR

summertime then & now

One of the best parts of summer as a kid or college student is enjoying the seemingly endless days of fun and warmth.  Getting to hang out with your friends at “the spot”, or with your cousins at Granny & Papa’s, while constantly exploring the places around you – that’s what makes summer worth living.  But as a recent graduate who delved right into the work world, I figured that such levels of summer zen were just a thing of the past.  No more endless nights of muttering the deepest convos of your life with your best friend under the stars until the sun outshone them, no more listening to the best new album on repeat for three months (if ever you wonder why I know all of the words to Drake’s “So Far Gone” album),  and forget about eating ice cream floats at one a.m. because your Papa thought it was a good idea… Well maybe that was just my Papa?  Nevertheless, the summers of my youth were each unique and unforgettable.  I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be able to outdo them, but then…

music saved the day

My favor was better than I figured it to be this summer. The Essence Music Festival, hosted annually in New Orleans, LA, has an “on the road” show called The Road to Essence.  This year, thanks to sponsors like Walmart and Coca-Cola, they stopped in my back yard – Bentonville, AR!  Excited is an understatement about my feelings for this event.  My friends & I, being how we are, planned the day out meticulously and got to the site like 2 hours early.  I probably lost a pound from all the sweating I did, but do I care?  Haha, no!  With free live music and amazing performances from new and seasoned artists, that 90° heat never felt so good.

#esfest featured photo

Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir & Hezekiah Walker

Talk about blessing the stage.  The AGMC was on point from the beginning – they had it feeling like a good old school tent revival.  Then Hezekiah Walker and his crew graced the stage with them and kept the praise going!

Estelle did that, darling.

Estelle performed some of her classics and really set the crowd on fire with her renditions of some Mary J. Blidge favorites.  She also performed “Do My Thing,” which I’d never heard before, but I love it!

Trey pulled the “trigga!”

“yuuup” in my Trigga voice.  Trey Songz hit the stage and all his lil’ angels went craaaaaazy, crazy!


*faints like the lady in the “Five Heartbeats”*

This man stole the show.  On a scale of 1-10, his showmanship was a 27.  He was as genuinely excited to see and sing for us as we were to see him do his thing.  As I put it on my personal instagram:

“But ooooooohhh weeeee let me tell y’all when THIS MAN RIGHT HERE came on stage. Pure entertainment. Every second, every move of his hand, every little wink, every move of his hips (& he was working em, y’all!) every every every thang! @maxwell #essencefest”

And he did wink at me y’all, I pinky promise triple dog swear he did.  *waves MLK church fan to keep calm*

my music mission

I have a new-found mission+passion: music on the road!  I always love to travel and photograph places.  Now, I want to travel, hear beautiful music, and share my experience!  I have been able to experience some great music locally, from John Legend at my university to Nita Fruit at the local Juneteenth Festival,  and now the Road to Essence Festival concert.  More posts of live music experienced the OWNG way are definitely necessary from here on out!

What are your favorite summer concert experiences?  Which would you recommend to me?  Who did you love most out of this line up?  Talk to me! =)

Until next time, Ci Vediamo!!!



6 thoughts on “Road to #EssenceFest – Bentonville, AR

  1. I enjoyed reading about your experience. Thank you for sharing! You took some really good pictures! I was there too. I was close to the stage on the right side. I can appreciate the central front seats. If only I would have arrived two hours early instead of 8 minutes late!

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