All photos by Scott Lynch
Jul 11, 2022
Scenes from Sunday’s glorious return of Soul Summit to Fort Greene Park
After two Covid-canceled summers, the DJ collective once again threw a massive dance party for the community
Soul Summit Music, the DJ collective founded in 2002 by Sadiq Bellamy, Tabu, and Jeff Mendoza, had to cancel their enormously popular, culturally vital house music dance parties in Fort Greene Park these past two summers for obvious, pandemic-related reasons.
This past Sunday, however, the trio were finally back outside, and thousands of jubilant house heads packed into the park to celebrate the party’s 20th anniversary in typically joyous Soul Summit fashion.
“It’s liberating. Vibrating. Magnetic. Loving. And peaceful,” Bellamy told Brooklyn Magazine. “It’s such a wonder to be back on the block. Soul Summit’s 20-year anniversary! There’s a hunger and a thirst for soulful house music, there’s a thirst for peace, for love, for togetherness, and Soul Summit provides just that.”
The five-plus hour set (the music always starts a little early, prior to the official 3:00 to 8:00 run time) featured house and club classics that sent the huge crowd into a sustained state of sweaty ecstasy. It’s very hot on the dance floor, and everyone appeared deliriously happy.
Dancing is hardly a requirement at Soul Summit, though. The people watching is superb, and devotees stake out picnic areas early in the afternoon in the shady areas surrounding the Prison Ship’s Martyrs’ Monument and make a day out of it, eating and chilling and bopping in their seats.
“I came from New Jersey just for this,” Sue Glasgow told us from her spot slightly away from the crowd. “It’s nice to have it back, but you still have to keep your distance, hence why I’m back here. But just the camaraderie, just the freeness of getting out and letting yourself go, especially on a nice day in the summertime, it’s amazing. The music is awesome. I’m going to dance right where I’m at. I’m fine right where I’m at.”
The party has turned into something of a street fair as well, with vendors of all description, selling apparel, accessories, wellness products, and food, ringing the dance floor. Nutcrackers and other boozy beverages are also readily obtainable.
For a deep dive into Soul Summit’s origins, its evolution in the face of Fort Greene’s gentrification, and what the collective’s dance parties mean for the area’s Black and Queer communities, watch this excellent short film, made during the early pandemic, by Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, the couple behind Black Owned Brooklyn.
In pre-Covid times Soul Summit fell into a rhythm of throwing two parties each summer — in the beginning it was every weekend, but that proved to be unsustainable as the neighborhood changed — so another celebration is planned for August. Follow them on Instagram for the announcement, and get there early if you want some space on the dance floor.
Here are a few more scenes from Sunday’s party.
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