In an all-star lineup, Ciara, Ludacris, Ne-Yo, The O'Jays with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, Robin Thicke and Steve Harvey have been added to the Essence Music Festival roster. These artists join previously announced Beyonce, Chris Brown, Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.

"Ciara, Ludacris, Ne-Yo and Robin Thicke are amazing performers, new to the Essence Music Festival stage and we're so thrilled to have them," says Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc. "The O'Jays with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, along with Steve Harvey are all a part of the Essence Music Festival family and we welcome them back to New Orleans for our coming home celebration."

The annual celebration (July 5-7) will also kick off with a star-studded opening night gospel extravaganza.

Tickets for the evening concerts are on sale immediately at, (800) 488-5252. A portion of the proceeds will support the Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools in New Orleans.