Eric Williams, the owner of the Silver Room in Hyde Park, made the announcement Monday.
One of the main events on summer’s social calendar for many Black Chicagoans — particularly South Siders — is gone for 2021.
The Silver Room Block Club Party, which normally takes place in July, is canceled for consecutive summers amid COVID-19 and business concerns.
Eric Williams, the owner of the Silver Room in Hyde Park, made the announcement Monday on the podcast “Randomly Selected.”
He attributes the 2021 cancelation to rising COVID-19 cases and the lack of business due to the pandemic, which slowed the preparation for the Block Party down to a halt.
On Sunday, state health officials announced 2,942 new and probable COVID-19 cases, bringing statewide pandemic totals to 1,279,772 cases.
“These events take about a year to plan,” said Williams, adding he didn’t want to rush an event so many Chicagoans look forward to. “Usually, I’ll start thinking about the Block Party in September; it’s always the third Saturday in July. Come September, you’re thinking about the following year. You have to think about who’s performing, start trying to secure equipment and all the logistics — it’s too much to do in two months.
“And because we were closed — the retail store — for almost three months, my focus was getting my store back open, and getting that business going. So many retail stores have closed especially the ones that are in the Black community.”
Later in the podcast, host Mario Smith asked Williams if the popular event intends to stay in Hyde Park after the previous iteration was hosted in Wicker Park.
Williams’ reply: “I don’t know.”
And what can longtime fans of the annual Block Party do to possibly ensure an event for 2022?
Williams encourages them to schedule their COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
“I think we have to get through this pandemic first and foremost,” said Williams. “For those who want to get vaccinated, go ahead and do that. For those who don’t, let’s make sure that we would be safe. I think we’ll be in a lot better place next year. We’re still in a place where some people don’t feel comfortable going out. And, also, there’s no way you can have social distancing at the Block Party — it’s just impossible. Because of the increased crowd size the last several years, there’s going to be even more people coming, so let me take the year off and really think about how this can look the next year.”