The 2019 Summer Spirit Festival, hosted by Carol Kirkendall and Darryll Brooks, CD Enterprises, Inc., will blend soul, R&B, jazz, Hip-Hop, and Go-Go. Sugar Bear will be featured with Be'la Dona. (Courtesy photo)

With a history boasting roots can be traced to the early 70s, replete with free, family-friendly outdoor concerts in Anacostia Park in Southeast, the musings of determined grassroots activists including one D.C. transplant named Marion Barry and gifted musicians known for spitting out lyrics that inspired while African-like cadences kept the beat – on overturned buckets not snare drums, the season’s annual go-go groove party is poised to make its return.

The 2019 Summer Spirit Festival, presented by the dynamic duo of Carol Kirkendall and Darryll Brooks, professionally known as CD Enterprises, Inc., have long-proven that they have a penchant for putting on a concert second to none. And that’s what they promise to bring once more on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.

Their tagline, perhaps, summarizes their mission best: “Not just another concert but an event.”

“We pride ourselves in running a great show with great sounds, lights and a show that starts on time,” they said. We want the show to be special for our customers.”

One impressive, if not unique quality of the yearly Summer Spirit Festival rests with its balanced, diverse lineup of entertainers, some known nationally and others more local favorites including brand new talent performing in front of an audience of thousands for the very first time.

Brooks says it’s always like a big family returning home for the holidays.

“We haven’t changed our stripes or our mission since we started doing our thing in 72,” he said. “My crew’s been here. In the early days, Chuck Brown [the godfather of go-go] was always there giving us his support. And as youngsters came aboard, we mentored them, we taught them the nuances of the business and we gave them opportunities to leave basement and backyard parties and do their thing on the big stage. Many of those youths have gone on to great careers and made their mark all over the world. Things like that, success stories similar in nature, are what have kept us going,” Brooks said while his business partner nodded her head in agreement.

This year’s lineup includes: Anthony Hamilton, Raphael Saadiq and Jhene Aiko but with an emphasis on paying tribute to D.C.’s own form of music, go-go, there will be local entertainers like Backyard Band, Sirius & Company (Ms. Kim & Scooby), Be’La Dona featuring Sugar Bear and many more. There may even be a few surprise guests, so those who plan to attend should get to the venue early and prepare to stay until the last downbeat falls.

“We’re featuring footage from ‘Go-Go Live and celebrating the Go-Go Posse’s ‘D.C. Don’t Stand for Dodge City,’” Kirkendall added.

“We cannot let that spirit that’s the foundation to go-go ever be stripped away from D.C.’s Black community,” Brooks said. “Not even this second wave of gentrification has the power to strip us of our identify, our mark on this city that has since spread throughout the nation and across the globe. We aren’t going anywhere and neither is our music.”

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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