​Questlove's 'Summer of Soul' Inspires New Festival in Harlem

The inaugural Harlem Festival of Culture will take place in summer 2023

BY Alex HudsonPublished Apr 13, 2022

Roots drummer Questlove's directorial debut Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) was a big hit, winning Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars and being named the best film of 2021 here at Exclaim! In fact, the film has been such a hit that it has inspired its very own music festival in Harlem, NY.

Summer of Soul examined 1969's Harlem Cultural Festival. In 2023, the New York neighbourhood will host the similarly named Harlem Festival of Culture. Part of the festival will take place at the same location as the original event — then called Mount Morris Park, now referred to as Marcus Garvey Park.

While the name is very similar to the prior festival, the Harlem Festival of Culture is a different event from a separate organization. An official description reads, "The annual cultural celebration will feature indoor and outdoor music concerts, influencer dinners, moderated discussions, and film screenings hosted at live music and dining venues throughout Harlem and neighbouring communities."

This new festival was founded by Musa Jackson, who attended the original event and appeared in Summer of Soul. Jackson is organizing the event along with Nikoa Evans and Yvonne McNair. In the year-plus leading up to the first festival, they will host a series of events in New York.

Dates and performers have yet to be announced. Stay tuned to the festival's website for details.

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