Back when I interviewed musicians for a living, Questlove was one of the people I spent ages trying to get on the other end of a phone. I finally got him ahead of a Dublin show by The Roots, promoted by the late, great John Reynolds. The interview happened between Questlove's gig running things on the Jimmy Fallon Show and a then regular weekly DJ spot at The Brooklyn Bowl. I remember him saying he’d something like 15 jobs at the time

Well, the dude has just gone and added another one to the list. He’s the director of Summer Of Soul, a film about the July 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Yeah, you’ve never heard of it. Most people haven’t. Running the same time as the Woodstock festival in upstate New York, this festival drew also big acts and big crowds. Then, once it was over, nada. So shrouded in myth and mystery that even some of the people who attended found it hard to believe that it actually happened.

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Even harder to believe is the fact that whole festival, which occured over a few summer weekends, was filmed and recorded. A festival with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone and dozens of other. In Mount Morris Park, a space which one festival goer remembers smelled of chicken and Afro Sheen. Hundreds of thousands of folks. No hassle, no bad vibes.

Hours of film was shot, but it was never seen until now. It’s easily already one of the best music docs you’ll ever see. Questlove stitches the whole thing together with a wonderfully light and right touch. Not only do the performances trump the talking heads, but the people who were actually there are given the right amount of time to say their pieces. There’s no rush, no hurry, and the film still covers a lot of ground in under two hours.

Questlove, director of Summer Of Soul

There’s space for some fabulous back stories. Like Tony Lawrence, the colourful and charismatic dude who was a lounge singer, fixer, schmoozer and the man who put the event together (and was the festival MC). Like the fact that it was sponsored by Maxwell House coffee. Like the great cackles and total lack of interest in the moon landing the same weekend. Like the we-were-there stories from performers like The 5th Dimension and Gladys Knight and Little Stevie.

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Speaking of which, it kicks off with a drum solo from Stevie because can never go wrong with a drum solo from Stevie. The footage of Sly & The Family Stone is fabulous. The sight of Nina Simone playing Young Gifted & Black and banging those piano keys will stir your soul. David Ruffin singing My Girl is delightful. BB King rocks it like BB always did. Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples take it to church.

And then, there’s the audience. Hundreds of thousands of people having a right good outdoor summer at a time of change and revolution. They were definitely there.

Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) streams exclusively on Star on Disney+ from 30th July.