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Harlem Festival of Culture Inspired by Questlove’s Summer of Soul Documentary Announced

The festival will take place for the first time in summer of 2023
Credit: CBS via Getty Images

The first-ever Harlem Festival of Culture has been announced today. The event was inspired by the documentary “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson which debuted at the Sundance film festival last year. The documentary details the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969, a moment that history has overwhelmingly forgotten.

The new, reimagined festival is set for the summer of 2023 in Marcus Garvey Park, the site of the festival back in 1969. The festival will consist of live entertainment along with social and economic development programs. The outdoor music festival is set to be a multi-day event, specific dates are yet to be released.

The festival is founded by Musa Jackson, Editor-in-Chief of Ambassador Digital Magazine who appeared in Questlove’s film recounting the events of the festival he attended at 5 years old. Jackson will lead the event’s planning alongside Nikoa Evans and Yvonne McNair.

“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!” Jackson said.

To build up the festival in the many months before it arrives in 2023, the organizers will put on a number of events in New York City including “A Harlem Jones” open mic night at the Museum of the City of New York on April 15. There will also be a special screening of “Summer of Soul” with cast members and live concerts.

The Summer of Soul documentary has won multiple awards, including Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary at the 2022 Independent Spirit Awards, Best Documentary at the 2022 Oscars, and Best Music Film at the Grammys.