Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just a hundred miles south of the site of the Woodstock Festival, the Harlem Cultural Festival, with stars like Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, BB King, and Gladys Knight & the Pips, was filmed at Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The material was never seen and was forgotten. On July 2, 2021, a new documentary film about the concerts will be released, called “Summer of Soul”, in the directorial debut of Ahmir Thompson, better known as “Questlove”, the very leader of the group The Roots. You can see the trailer below.
From the announcement: In his film directorial debut, “Questlove” presents a powerful and transporting documentary – part musical film, part historical record – created around an epic event that celebrates the history, culture and fashion of the African American community. . Summer of Soul highlights the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as testimony to the healing power of music in times of turmoil, both past and present.
Wonder was only 19 that summer, but had been shaping music for years. Sly and the Family Stone had two major hits under their belt and were about to release “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” Gladys Knight & the Pips were in the middle of their phenomenal chart run.
In addition to these top-notch stars, the film also includes never-before-seen performances from 5th Dimension, Nina Simone, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln, and Max Roach, among others.
“Summer of Soul (Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” – its full and official name – premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Searchlight Pictures will release it in theaters. It can also be seen on Hulu.
The movie has a positive 98% rating on content aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Here you can see the trailer: