OAKLAND — The Silver Room Block Party, which has showcased house music, visual arts and foods from numerous cultures for nearly two decades, returns in July with big changes after two years off due to the pandemic.
This year’s block party will be held noon-10 p.m. July 16-17 at Oakwood Beach, 4100 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive. A free, one-day event since its inception, the party is now a ticketed, two-day festival, with early-bird passes going on sale at noon Wednesday. Details of the block party’s return were first reported by The TRiiBE.
One-day tickets are $30, while two-day passes are $50. Ticket prices will rise as performers are announced in the coming weeks, and capacity is capped at 20,000 attendees per day. To buy tickets, click here.
“There’s no way I can afford to cover a party for 20,000 people,” said Eric Williams, owner of the Silver Room at 1506 E. 53rd St. “If you’ve come over the last 16 years, you already know it’s going to be more than worth whatever we’re charging.”
The festival will feature several stages, Williams said.
Live music and DJs will be showcased with a focus on house music, while event sponsor Lululemon — which opened a 53rd Street storefront one block from the Silver Room in November — will host a health and wellness pavilion with yoga, fitness and lectures.
There will also be a design pavilion featuring Black architects and designers, space for visual art, a food court and a kids area, Williams said.
Oakwood Beach “is going to be such a beautiful backdrop” for the block party, offering a blend of the “urban setting” 53rd Street and Wicker Park provided in years past with the natural beauty of the beach, Williams said.
It will also offer more room to breathe, as 53rd Street “got so crowded we could barely even move around” when the last party was held in 2019, he said. An estimated 40,000 people attended that year.
“At the end of the night [during the] last block party, I was trying to get into my own store and I literally couldn’t,” Williams said.
A two-year pandemic hiatus will likely increase demand, so “there’s no way we would be able to pull this off on the street,” he said. “Now we can do it in a way that’s more controlled, and it’s a safer environment, honestly.”
Beyond coronavirus concerns, Williams canceled last year’s block party as he was busy preparing to open the Bronzeville Winery at 4420 S. Cottage Grove Ave. The winery, which opened last week, will likely host events during the run-up to the party, he said.
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