Summer of Soul

The “Summer of Soul” refers to the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969, also known as the “Black Woodstock.” The event took place over six weekends in the summer of 1969 in Harlem, New York City. It featured a series of free concerts held in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park) and showcased a lineup of influential African-American musicians, artists, and cultural figures.

The Harlem Cultural Festival was organized by Tony Lawrence, a producer and entrepreneur, with the goal of celebrating African-American music, culture, and community. The festival aimed to provide a platform for Black artists who were often underrepresented in mainstream music festivals.

The festival attracted a massive audience, with an estimated 300,000 attendees throughout the summer. It featured performances by renowned artists from various genres, including soul, R&B, gospel, jazz, and blues. Some of the notable performers included Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, B.B. King, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Sly and the Family Stone, and many others.

In 2021, the documentary film “Summer of Soul,” directed by Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson), was released. The film showcases the performances, interviews, and cultural significance of the Harlem Cultural Festival. It shines a light on this overlooked moment in music history and celebrates the richness of African-American music and culture.

The “Summer of Soul” has come to represent a powerful and transformative period of cultural expression and community celebration. It serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of African-American music and the importan


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