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A festival inspired by "Summer of Soul" is coming to NYC in 2023

The event will celebrate Harlem and Black culture.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Inspired by Questlove's award-winning documentary Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution could Not Be Televised), the Harlem Festival of Culture is set to take over Marcus Garvey Park on the border of Harlem and East Harlem some time in the summer of 2023.

The multi-day outdoor music festival will kick off with a series of lead-up events that run the gamut in scope and genre. New Yorkers can expect live entertainment sessions alongside social and economic development programs and more.

For those unfamiliar with Questlove's film, the documentary actually focuses on the original Harlem Cultural Festival, which took place back in 1969 at Mount Morris Park (now known as Marcus Garvey Park!). 

The original iteration of the event celebrated African American music and culture and it took place a number of times between 1967 and 1974, but the 1969 series of events was undoubtedly the most successful one. Some people even refer to it as Black Woodstock.

The modern-day Harlem Festival of Culture is founded by Musa Jackson, the editor in chief of Amabassador Digital Magazine. Jackson actually attended the 1969 festival as a five-year-old and even appears on Questlove's film. 

"The original event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience—one that I will never forget," Jackson said in an official press release. "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."

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