Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 1969: I Was There.

No, not the Moon.  Mount Morris Park (renamed Marcus Garvey Park four years later). 

A few days before, I had seen an ad for the concert on the 27 Bus, so around noon the day Neil Armstrong would do the first "Moonwalk," I took the No. 6 train (of J.Lo's debut album fame -- she would be born four days later) from the Sound View Avenue Station (now Morrison-Sound View Avenues) down to 125th Street to enjoy a Soul Music concert of arguably historic proportions. 

According to kamau blogging last year about the whole festival, "producer Hal Tulchin took over 50 hours of footage of the festival, but was unable to get it aired on the American TV networks of the day. Currently that footage lies languishing in vaults; apart from Nina Simone’s performance that is making the rounds of YouTube . . . , most of that footage has not seen the light of day."

Below is the text of the original press release for the July 20th concert.  (Notice the area code for the whole city is "212"; "718" for the "outer boroughs" won't be created until 1984.)  Below the press release is the poster for the festival.

Headliner Stevie Wonder was only 18.  Chuck Jackson will turn 73 this Thursday.

What has this to do with Hard Bop?  I'll think of some excuse.

City of New York
Administration of Parks,
Recreation and
Cultural Affairs
Arsenal, Central Park 10021

For Release

For Further Information:
Janice Brophy - 360-8141


    Harlem will host the sounds of soul this Sunday, July 20th, at 2:00 p.m. at Mount Morris Park, 124th Street and Fifth Avenue. The concert climaxes "Soul Music Festival Week." proclaimed by Mayor Lindsay for July 15th to July 20th.

    Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin, Chuck Jackson, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Lou Parks Dancers are featured at the Soul Festival, the third concert in the Harlem Cultural Festival 1969, sponsored by the New York City's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration and Maxwell House Coffee, and produced and directed by Tony Lawrence. Admission is free.

    The Harlem Cultural Festival 1969 will continue through the summer with three more concerts at Mount Morris Park, all at 2:00 p.m. A Caribbean Festival on July 27th, featuring Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Cal Tjader, Herbie Mann, and the Harlem Festival Calypso Band; a Blues & Jazz Festival on August 17 with Nina Simone, B. B. King, Hugh Masakela, and the Harlem Festival Jazz Band; on August 24th, a Miss Harlem Beauty Pageant & Local Talent Festival, featuring La Rocque Bey & Co., and Listen My Brothers & Co.



755-4100. For Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn - 691-5858.

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