While Woodstock dominated the music news in 1969, down in New York City, the Harlem Cultural Festival provided its 300,000 attendees with something more than sex, drugs and rock and roll. It gave many of them hope.
Imagine seeing this lineup live: Stevie Wonder (on drums!), The Fifth Dimension, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Moms Mabley, Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King and many, many others. The Harlem Cultural Festival was a celebration of Black musicians, music, pride and Harlem itself – and the whole thing was filmed. In our on-going coverage of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, we’ll talk on Tuesday at 11 a.m. with producers Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein about Summer of Soul (...Or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson's directorial debut. It’s the story of how the Harlem Cultural Festival came together, its impact and how it was rescued from obscurity.
For more information about Summer of Soul go to festival.sundance.org.