It’s been two years – a long two years – since music lovers here in the DMV and beyond have had a chance to make their annual trek to Columbia, Maryland, for one of the region’s most popular music festivals.
But for one day only, on Sunday, Aug. 7, the all-day, family-friendly event will return to the Merriweather Post Pavilion, continuing the tradition of showcasing a variety of musical genres from R&B and neo-soul to hip-hop and go-go.
Most music aficionados who live in the greater Washington area have probably connected the dots and already know the event that this writer has described.
But just in case your memory’s a bit hazy, the must-see, must-hear, must-attend event in question remains none other than the Summer Spirit Festival 2022.
However, a word of caution to those who plan to attend: get there early and be prepared to stay until the very end.
The promoters, CD Enterprises, Inc., led by the dynamic duo of Darryll Brooks and Carol Kirkendall, said that this show, reminiscent of the countless spectacular productions that they’ve engineered across America for more than 50 years, promises to live up to their company mantra: “Not just another concert but an event.”
Still, getting things back to “normal” hasn’t been easy.
“Because of COVID’s impact on everyone, we literally had to start all over again which included an unprecedented rush on talent from buyers across the country,” Brooks said. “So, we started early to get performers to commit. And we had to fight to get talent so we could put on a good show because there are so many new urban buyers who weren’t in the market 10 years ago.”
“However, Carol and I believe we’ve put together a really nice show that features a wide range of musical genres: Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Method Man & Redman, Marsha Ambrosius, Junkyard Band and J. Brown. Then we have DJ Dirty Rico holding it down with the music and Jas Funk serving as the emcee.”
“Erykah, Anthony, Marsha, Method Man and Junkyard Band have all been part of our lineup before and the fans loved them, so we’re excited to have them return. As a special treat, Junkyard Band will be premiering their new single and I hear that Marsha may be debuting her new single which Dr. Dre produced.”
“But the key to our success is that Summer Spirit remains a family affair. It’s a homecoming, a family reunion and a way to socialize as the summer begins to wind down. We look for entertainers who are both talented and socially conscious – a carryover from back in the ’70s when we brought Human Kindness Day to the District. Then, and now, we were committed to promoting events that uplifted the community.”
The Summer Spirit Festival has become a fixture in the DMV while attracting an ever-increasing cadre of fans from across the U.S. and beyond. But don’t take this writer’s word for it. Consider that this year, CD Enterprises, Inc. will mark its 15th year of producing and promoting the family-friendly festival.
Even more impressive, Brooks and Kirkendall recently marked their 50th year in the industry.
“I really hadn’t thought about it until you brought it up,” he said with earnest humility. “I just remember us wanting to build something that would make a difference in people’s lives. We never imagined that we would one day be considered trailblazers.”
“Actually, I’m still searching for more things to do – producing records, building the culture and pursuing dreams that remain unfulfilled. I’m not exactly sure what they are but when I look back and look over my shoulder, I must admit, I’ve had a lot of dreams.”
“Fifty years! Carol and I have been fortunate – no, we’ve been blessed because many of my dreams, her dreams – our dreams – have come true,” Brooks said.
Tickets remain on sale but are going fast. To purchase tickets online, go to ticketmaster.com or merriweathermusic.com.