To the dismay of many, it was announced this summer that it would be the last Silver Room Block Party—a free music event that was born in 2002 in Wicker Park near its namesake storefront and has been held in Hyde Park since 2015.
After the pandemic, the Block Party returned as a paid two-day festival at the beach. But this year, founder Eric Williams said that despite generous sponsors, vendors and donors, there was an annual deficit that had to be offset by himself and The Silver Room.
“We were a block party that accidentally became a festival. It’s a whole different ball game and the weight of it all just became too much,” Williams said in a public Facebook post. He claimed to have contributed $1 million to subsidize the event over the last seventeen years.
South Side Weekly was there to capture the last iteration of the Silver Room Block Party.
“Seeing a lot of Black people from different backgrounds all in one place is still considered a rare occurrence because we be worried about our safety and our ability,” said Weekly photographer ThoughtPoet. “The Silver Room Block Party taught me that love and understanding for community can exist.”