Celebrating its 10th anniversary—and coinciding with Harlem Week—one of uptown's most joyful music festivals is returning to its original location this weekend.
On Sunday DJ Stormin' Norman will be bringing his Sundae Sermon dance party to St. Nicholas Park (St. Nicholas Avenue and 135th Street) from 1pm to 6pm, mixing disco, funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, and Afro house for the blissed-out crowd.
All ages are welcome to the free dance-a-thon, which will feature live sets by Stormin' Norman as well as DJ Cosi. As part of a special tribute to women, guests will include DJ Sabine Blaizin, percussionist Courtnee Roze, and vocalist Janine "Sugah Lyrics" Lyons.
A longtime resident of Harlem who's originally from East London, festival founder Stormin' Norman took part in a short Q&A with The Curious Uptowner to share his thoughts about a decade of Sundae Sermon and the dance party's future:
What does 10 years of Sundae Sermon mean to you?
It means that Harlem is happy, the boroughs are happy, people who travel from out of state and internationally are happy! I'm thrilled, amazed and tickled that it's been 10 years already! I imagined it, but didn't believe it. But that's what our dreams are for! Ahahah.
I began this because I wanted a day to play music in the park for my friends and watch the smiling, happy faces dance and sing–from toddlers to grandparents, no matter their age, race, gender or color, while supporting all things social in society like mentoring and cancer awareness, for example.
Sundae Sermon Music Festival [is] an escape into a utopia and [a chance to] forget about your problems. It's been called the Woodstock of Harlem, and I agree with that–without the mud! Ahah!
What is the future of the event?
The future of Sundae Sermon is to move it to larger venues with the ability to afford even more renowned DJs and musical acts for the people, while keeping the authenticity of the festival and keeping it family-friendly.
I want to continue to push the musical envelope in soulful house, disco, funk, soul and afrobeat and also want to include panels and exhibits from art to technology.
I've previously done smaller versions of Sundae Sermon in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sydney, Austrialia, and Miami. And of course the dream: to take it to my homeland of London and to continue to spread the word of "Love will save the day!"
Will it change or stay the same? Do you hope for another 10 years?
Things have to change, people change, life changes, hearts change, I've changed and the team has changed. Every year I try to make Sundae Sermon better than the last–it's important for the growth of the brand and for the people.
I've watched friends who were pregnant at Sundae Sermon in the beginning, and now those kids are 10 years old. It's just amazing, and I want see those kids in their 30s with their kids. Sundae Sermon will continue as long as the people who made it what it is keep on coming. I'm just the minister and people are the congregation!