Questlove’s Oscar-winning documentary Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) about the nearly forgotten 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival has inspired organizers to plan a new festival at the very same location for the summer of 2023.
The new festival, titled Harlem Festival of Culture, will take place over several days at Marcus Garvey Park (formally Mount Morris Park circa 1969). According to Billboard, Musa Jackson, the editor-in-chief of Ambassador Digital Magazine, Nikoa Evans, and Yvonne McNair will act as co-founders of the new Harlem Festival of Culture.
Jackson said in a statement, “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. 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.”
The executive producer of Summer of Soul, Joseph Patel, added: “One of the things we hoped would happen with Summer of Soul is that it would open the door for other stories to be told, in all their forms, especially by people from Harlem. I couldn’t think of a better person to charge through than Musa, whose devoted roots in the community make him the perfect person to represent for Harlem.”
Starting on April 15, organizers plan to kick off a year-long series of events leading up to the festival, beginning with A Harlem Jones open mic night at the Museum of the City of New York in tribute to the 25th anniversary of the cult classic movie Love Jones. May will see the group’s first live music performance at Marcus Garvey Park, with details to be announced at a later date.
Additionally, the three co-founders created a non-profit HFC Foundation to help “foster Harlem’s next generation of leaders in music, media, art, fashion, science, technology, and entertainment.”
Read Relix‘s cover story with Questlove here.