The inaugural Harlem Festival of Culture will take place in 2023 in the same New York City park as the one featured in Questlove’s 2021 documentary film. The site is now known as Marcus Garvey Park, having changed its name from Mount Morris Park.
The name, Harlem Festival of Culture, is only a slight variation on the original: the Harlem Cultural Festival. The latter consisted of several outdoor concerts between June-August, 1969. The program included The Fifth Dimension, Max Roach, Mahalia Jackson, Staple Singers, Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Barretto, Herbie Mann, B.B. King, Nina Simone, Hugh Masekela and many more.
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), Questlove’s directorial debut, recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the Grammy Award for Best Music Film, and a sack full of film festival and critics’ awards.
The Harlem Festival of Culture was founded by Musa Jackson, who attended the original festival as a 5 year old. “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!” he said in a statement.
Although exact dates are to be revealed, the 2023 event is touted as the beginning of an annual cultural event featuring indoor and outdoor concerts, as well as “influencer dinners, moderated discussions, and film screenings hosted at live music and dining venues” in Harlem.