Thing to Do

Summer Festival

crowd seated on chairs and blankets on lawn to watch concert, with 50th anniversary logo crowd seated on chairs and blankets on lawn to watch concert, with 50th anniversary logo

Left image
Crowd on the East Lawn at the Longfellow Summer Festival 2019.

Right image
Summer Festival attendees on the lawn of the Longfellow House, July 13, 1980.

Celebrating 50 Years of Art and Community

  • Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair! Limited seating provided, first-come first-served.
  • Bring a friend, or come solo! All are welcome, including families with kids. Picnics are welcome, too.
  • Plan your trip! Parking is not available on site. See Directions for more information.

The Longfellow Summer Festival is a tradition nearly as old as the national historic site itself. Join us in celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2022! This annual festival brings music, poetry, and community to the East Lawn of the Longfellow House on Sunday afternoons through the summer. The 2022 Summer Festival will kick off on Sunday, June 5. All events are free and open to the public.

The series is co-sponsored by the Friends of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters, the New England Poetry Club, and Berklee College of Music.

Logo with yellow text bubble and blue text reading 2022 Longfellow Student Poetry Awards

June 5, 3:00 PM | Longfellow Student Poetry Awards

Kick off the summer with a celebration of emerging poets! The Longfellow Student Poetry Contest is an annual competition of original poetry, with categories for high school, middle school, and elementary school students. Students will read their winning poems at this ceremony, followed by a celebration on the lawn. The ceremony concludes with the presentation of the Victor Howes Prize to Logan Klutse, an undergraduate student at Yale University.

The contest aims to encourage and celebrate young poets in exploring their craft, and is co-sponsored by the Frank Buda Memorial Fund, New England Poetry Club, Friends of the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters, and National Park Service.

Four musicians looking at the blue sky

Saturday June 11, 3:00 PM | Concert: Grupo los Santos

Grupo los Santos is a NYC-based quartet of guitar, bass, drums and tap dance/body percussion, often augmented with Afro-Cuban batá drums. A funky, rootsy, weirdly eclectic jam-band which pulls equally from the traditions of jazz, rock, funk, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and whatever else they come across. Formed in 1998, Santos has played concerts throughout the US, Cuba and Europe. They have played and/or recorded with some of the most recorded Afro-cuban folkloric and popular artists, including Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Yoruba Andabo, Chucho Valdez and Juan Pablo Torres. In February of 2020 they recorded their 4th album "Santos4" due out later this year, and from which 5 tracks have already been released.
Magdalena Gomez and Enzo Silon Surin

June 12, 3:00 PM | Poetry Reading: Magdalena Gómez and Enzo Silon Surin

Magdalena Gómez is the Poet Laureate of Springfield, MA and a Poetry Fellow of the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry collection, Shameless Woman, (Red Sugarcane Press, NYC) is studied in Latinx curricula throughout the U.S. Her ground-breaking memoir noir, M’ija, will be released in hardcover in spring of 2022 by Heliotrope Books, NYC.

Enzo Silon Surin is a Haitian-born award-winning poet, educator, publisher and social advocate. He is the author of three collections of poetry, including When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press, 2020) and A Letter of Resignation: An American Libretto (2017). He is Founding Editor and Publisher at Central Square Press and President/Executive Director at the Faraday Publishing Company, Inc.

White text reading "Jubilee Juneteenth and The Thirteenth" one a blurred background of historic illustration

June 19, 7:00-9:30 PM | Juneteenth Gathering and Film: #Pop-up Poetry and Jubilee Juneteenth and the Thirteenth

In partnership with the Museum of African American History
Gather with your neighbors on Juneteenth for a special poetry performance and film screening connecting past and present.The evening begins at 7:30 PM with a Drum Call, processional, and poetry reading, part of the #Pop-Up Poetry Series, A Denise Plays Hard Event with Becoming Chibuzo, Multi-Disciplinary Artist/Producer Akili Jamal Haynes.

At 8:30, we will screen the film Jubilee Juneteenth and the Thirteenth, a documentary produced by The Museum of African American History Boston and Nantucket, with funding from Liberty Mutual, MGH, and Harvard University Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Hosted by Hill Harper. Watch the trailer here:

Jubilee Juneteenth and the Thirteenth portrays the influential but often overlooked role that African Americans in Boston and Massachusetts played in the events that led to the abolition of slavery in the United States. It explores the importance of the African Meetinghouse, built by and for Black people in 1806 as Boston's first black church. It stands today as the oldest original black church building in America. For nearly six decades preceding the Civil War, the African Meetinghouse was the epicenter where much activism to abolish slavery was born and bred.

Event Schedule
7:00 PM Gather on the Longfellow House lawn (drop-in, picnics welcome)
7:30 PM #Pop-Up Poetry Series, A Denise Plays Hard Event with Becoming Chibuzo, Multi- Disciplinary Artist/Producer Akili Jamal Haynes
8:15 PM Film introduction
8:30-9:30 PM Outdoor Film Screening

A collage featuring eight headshots of musicians and composers

June 26, 3:00 PM | Concert: Juventas New Music Ensemble

An afternoon of chamber music with Juventas New Music Ensemble, featuring beautiful new works by living composers:

  • A Vision of Hills by Gwyneth Walker (Braintree, VT)
  • Springburst by Carson Cooman (Cambridge, MA)
  • Beacon of the Bay by Stacy Garrop (Chicago, IL)
  • Reminiscence by Mari Kotskky (New York, NY)
  • The Eleventh Hour by Joe Jaxson (Staunton, VA)
  • Illuminated by the Light of Two Ships Passing in the Night by Oliver Caplan (Medford, MA)
  • New Work by Oliver Caplan (Medford, MA)
View the complete program here.
Anabel Gil holding a flute

July 3, 3:00 PM | Concert: Anabel Gil Trio (Berklee Summer in the City Series)

Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and composer Anabel Gil Díaz graduated from the Superior Institute of Art in her hometown of Havana, Cuba. Since November 2014. She has performed both classical and jazz repertoire at renowned venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. Gil has had the opportunity to study with renowned artists such as James Galway, Paquito de Rivera, Dave Santoro, Marquis Hill, and many others. She recently recorded with Terri Lyne Carrington for Carrington’s New Jazz Standards album, scheduled to be released in September 2022.
Martha Collins and Philip Nicolayev

July 10, 3:00 PM | Poetry Reading: Martha Collins and Philip Nikolayev

Martha Collins has published ten volumes of poetry, most recently Because What Else Could I Do (Pittsburgh, 2019), which won the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. She has also published four volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, most recently Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed, 2013, with the author), and edited a number of anthologies. Her newest book of poems, Casualty Reports, is forthcoming in fall 2022.

Philip Nikolayev is a Russo-American bilingual poet living in Boston. He is a polyglot and translates poetry from several languages. Nikolayev’s verse collections include Monkey Time (Verse/Wave Books, winner of the 2001 Verse Prize) and Letters from Aldenderry (Salt). He co-edits Fulcrum, a serial anthology of poetry and critical writing. His bilingual edition, The Star of Dazzling Ecstasy: 79 Poems by Alexander Pushkin, Translated by Philip Nikolayev has been published by Tiptop Street.

Black and white headshot of Patricia Smith

Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

July 17, 3:00 PM | Golden Rose Poetry Award: Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith is the winner of the 2022 Golden Rose, one of America’s oldest literary prizes. Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Tin House and in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays and Best American Mystery Stories.

She is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam. Patricia is a Distinguished Professor for the City University of New York and an instructor in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada University and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program.

Four members of the Nebulous String Quartet

Canceled due to heat advisory July 24, 3:00 PM | Concert: Nebulous String Quartet (Berklee Summer in the City Series)

Nebulous String Quartet is a traditional string ensemble in its instrumentation but has established a sound far from the norm. Being comprised of musicians with diverse cultural backgrounds, each member of Nebulous brings their own distinct musical identity. Led by Kely Pinheiro, Nebulous brings a creative approach to string playing by performing without sheet music and creating original arrangements through group rehearsal. Nebulous find themselves enthusiastic about the musical ideas they create and love to share that joy and spontaneity with their audience.

Collage of five musicians

July 31, 3:00 PM | Concert: Kaju Barfi (Berklee Summer in the City Series)

Kaju Barfi presents a fusion of beatboxing mixed with Indian classical music, Bollywood, and familiar cover songs that can be enjoyed by a wide range of audiences from different musical backgrounds. The group is led by Shivaraj Natraj, a.k.a. the Konnakol Beatboxer, who has represented India at the world vocal conference, La Voce Artistica, in Ravenna, Italy and also has appeared on Indian national television multiple times. The group includes a male and female vocalist, a Carnatic violinist, and a pianist.
Elizabeth McKim and Askia Toure

August 7, 3:00 PM | Sam Cornish Poetry Award: Elizabeth McKim and Askia Touré

Note: Due to forecasted high heat, this event will take place indoors at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 113 Brattle Street (next door to the Longfellow House). Masks are encouraged.

Elizabeth Gordon McKim is a poet, teacher, and spoken word artist, whose roots are embedded in the oral tradition of song, story and chant. Born in Hartford Connecticut in 1938, she has authored six collections of poetry, including The Red Thread (2003) and Lovers in the Free Fall (2020). She is the poet laureate of the European Graduate School for Expressive Arts, and is affectionately known as the Jazz Poet of Lynn. McKim’s poetry is both local and global, inclusive, wide ranging, incisive, freedom-seeking, bluesy, jazzy, spirited and streetwise. She inspires and has been inspired by poets and writers of diverse ages, traditions, and cultures. She engages with language making, origin stories, works of the imagination and the pressing issues of our life and times. She throws out the life-line in long chanting lines, and brings it back home in the compression of a haiku.

Askia M. Touré is one of the pioneers of the Black Arts/Black Aesthetics movement and the Africana Studies movement. A co-founding Architect of the eminent Black Arts Movement, Mr. Touré revolutionized African-American literature with the creation of an ethnic-based Aesthetic. In 1967/68, at San Francisco State University, he taught African history in the first Africana Studies program located at a majority university. Ishmael Reed has called Askia Touré “the unsung poet laureate of cosmopolitan Black Nationalism.” His books include From the Pyramids to the Projects, winner of the 1989 American Book Award for Literature; African Affirmations: Songs for Patriots: New Poems, 1994 to 2004, and Mother Earth Responds. In 1996, he was awarded the prestigious Gwendolyn Brooks Lifetime Achievement award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Institute in Chicago. His screenplay for “Double Dutch: A Gathering of Women,” won the 2003 Roxbury International Film Festival Best Director Award. Since August 2019, Mr. Touré has been reading with the Makanda Orchestra, beginning with a celebration of the South African musician Ndikho Xaba.

Yagmur Soydemir playing the flute

August 14, 3:00 PM | Concert: Yagmur Soydemir and Friends (Berklee Summer in the City Series)

Yagmur Soydemir and Friends is a trio made up of Soydemir (flute), Sueda Catakoglu (piano), and Upasak Mukherjee (percussion) that performs Turkish, Indian, pop, jazz, and Latin music.

Soydemir, from Turkey, is a classically trained, award-winning flutist with a bachelor’s degree from the Conservatory of Nice in France. Catakoglu, from Turkey, is a classically trained pianist with a bachelor’s degree from Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, Germany. Mupherjee, from India, is a professional percussionist and drummer and a classically trained guitarist with a bachelor’s degree from Manipal College of Dental Sciences in India.
Chen Chen and Natalie Shapero

Image of Chen Chen by Paula Champagne

August 21, 3:00 PM | Poetry Reading: Chen Chen and Natalie Shapero

Chen Chen’s second book of poetry, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, is out from BOA Editions this September. His first book, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was long-listed for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award. A 2022 United States Artists Fellow, he serves on the poetry faculty for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast.

Natalie Shapero is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection POPULAR LONGING. Natalie’s writing has appeared in The Nation, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere.

Date added! August 28, 3:00 PM | Concert: Berklee Summer in the City Series

Berklee is back by popular demand! Join us on August 28 for a Ukrainian-influenced mix of genres including jazz, pop, R&B, EDM, indie, folk, and musical theater.

Last updated: November 7, 2022