Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, Jill Scott, ASAP Rocky, Rick Ross, Trey Songz and Jennifer Hudson will anchor the 2014 BET Experience.
The Black Entertainment Television (BET) network announced the first crop of performers tapped for the second year of its destination festival that transforms its own annual award spectacle into a three-day offering of urban music concerts, wellness seminars, celebrity panels, exhibits and a fan expo that will unfold over multiple venues at L.A. Live from June 27-29.
Staples Center will once again host three nights of headliners.
R&B crooner Maxwell and songstresses Jill Scott and Marsha Ambrosius will kick off the festival.
ASAP Rocky, Rick Ross, K. Michele, Ty Dolla Sign and August Alsina will share the bill on night two, alongside a yet-to-be-announced hip-hop reunion, according to the network. (Could this be a reunited OutKast, who have announced they will play more than 40 festivals this summer?)
Mary J. Blige, Trey Songz, Jennifer Hudson and Tamar Braxton will close the festival.
Last year, BET launched its inaugural festival. More than two years in the making, the BET Experience was a way for the network to expand its highly rated awards show and make L.A. a destination for urban music fans in search of a big-ticket event.
For nearly two decades, the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans had been the premiere destination for black music fans from around the country, but in Southern California, multi-day offerings for those listeners had long been slim.
The annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival crosses multiple genre lines, while both Rock the Bells and Paid Dues cater to hip-hop fans.
BET changed that last year with a festival that prominently featured R&B, soul, gospel and hip-hop acts at Staples Center, jam sessions at the smaller Club Nokia, a breadth of free panels and seminars at J.W. Marriott hotel, exhibits at the Grammy Museum and late-night after-parties at the Conga Room.
Amid all the action, the network taped both its annual awards show telecast and its video countdown show, 106 & Park.
More than 100,000 flocked to L.A. Live last June to see concerts that featured Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, J. Cole and Miguel as well as R. Kelly, New Edition and the Jacksons. Comedy shows included Mike Epps and Cedric the Entertainer, Kirk Franklin led a gospel showcase and Erykah Badu and the Roots topped late-night jam sessions.
In 2012, the network signed a deal with Anschutz Entertainment Group to launch the event and move its award show to the Nokia Theatre. BET teamed with promoter Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Live, to curate the talent for the festival.
Unlike a lot of one-size-fits-all festival tickets, AEG and BET wanted fans to be able to customise packages.
Keeping with the exclusivity of the award show experience, those wanting to rub shoulders with the stars at the show can buy one of the two VIP packages the network created — if they’re willing to shell out between $1,095 and $4,395. Each package offers a different access level but guaranteed entry to the awards and plum seats to the Staples Center series.
BET also offers single-day tickets to the concerts for $59.50 to $149.50, or buyers can bundle the Staples Center series of shows for $199 to $399. Access to the fan fest and seminars are free with registration.
Tickets go on sale Friday through AXS.