As thousands of gallons of BP's crude oil continued to dump into the Gulf of Mexico and a blistering heat wave crept across the Eastern American seaboard over the long Fourth of July weekend, the Essence Music Festival played on. Nothing can stop the New Orleans institution and America's largest celebration of contemporary African American music and culture since 1995 -- not even Katrina in 2006, which had the festival relocated to nearby Houston, Texas for the year.

This year went off without a glitch -- aside from a preggers Alicia Keys taking a little spill during her performance of 'Love Is Blind' off her new album, 'Element of Freedom.' (Both Keys and baby are fine.) The three-day festival also marked the first time headliner Janet Jackson took to its stage and was rounded out by performances from Mary J. Blige, Monica, Estelle, LL Cool J and Trey Songz, among others. Just when you thought things couldn't get hotter in NOLA, R&B turned up the heat index. Check out photos from the 2010 Essence Music Festival after the jump.

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2010 Essence Music Festival

Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Trey Songz, Chrisette Michele and many more took the stage at the 2010 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

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Sean Gardner, Getty Images

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 04: Mary J. Blige performs during the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 4, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 02: Keri Hilson performs during the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 3: Musician Alicia Keys perfroms at the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome, July 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 02: Janet Jackson performs at the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

Charlie Wilson sings during the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Friday, July 2, 2010.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 03: LL Cool J performs at the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 02: Tasha Larae of Arrested Development performs at the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 03: Gladys Knight performs at the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 04: Jill Scott performs at the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 4, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Essence Music Festival 2010

Chrisette Michele sings during the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Friday, July 2, 2010.

Essence Music Festival 2010

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