Harlem Festival of Culture, inspired by ‘Summer of Soul,’ coming in 2023
Questlove's award-winning Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) documentary brought renewed interest to 1969's Harlem Cultural Festival, which was held in Mount Morris Park (now known as Marcus Garvey Park) and dubbed the "Black Woodstock," and now a new festival inspired by that one has been announced: the inaugural Harlem Festival of Culture. The festival was founded by Musa Jackson, who appeared in Questlove's film as a 5-year-old attendee of the Harlem Cultural Festival, and it's taking place in 2023 at the same location as the original 1969 event. Exact dates TBA.
In a statement posted by Pitchfork, Jackson said, "Being rooted, watered, and grown in this village of Harlem, I believe HFC is our moment to show the world the vibrancy of today’s Harlem—the music, the food, the look, all of it!"
"The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience—one that I will never forget," he adds. "With this initiative, we want to create something that evokes that same sense of pride in our community that I felt on that special day in 1969. We want to authentically encapsulate the full scope—the energy, the music, the culture. We want people to understand that this Festival is being built by the people who are from, live and work in this community."
Organizing the festival alongside Jackson are Nikoa Evans and Yvonne McNair. Pitchfork also adds that the organizers have other events planned around the city, including the "A Harlem Jones" open mic night at the Museum of the City of New York on Friday (4/15), a special screening of Summer of Soul featuring cast members on June 17 in Marcus Garvey Park (presented with SummerStage), live concerts, and more.