Today, the Hyde Park Summer Fest, formerly known as “Hyde Park Brew Fest,” announced their festival’s new name and the upcoming dates of the event. Summer Fest will be held on September 11-12, 2021, at The Midway Plaisance, 59th and Woodlawn. This will be the seventh annual event of the Hyde Park Summer Fest. Dave Jeff, one of the festival’s organizers says, “The Hyde Park Summer Fest is a staple of not only Hyde Park, but the greater city of Chicago. We are proud to be rooted in the South Side and host an event that serves as an anchor for the community. This event truly brings the entire community together, both locally and nationally. We are celebrating the best of the South Side together and embracing the culture we have cultivated here in Chicago.”
This year the Hyde Park Summer Fest will also be in the “Chicago in Tune” festival, a new citywide festival celebrating music in the key to Chicago — during the 2021 #YearofChicagoMusic. The organizers of the event Jonathan T. Swain, Dave Jeff, and the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce are excited for the return of this community-focused festival, given the cancellation of the iconic event last year due to COVID-19.
The Chicago Defender had an opportunity to speak with one of the festival organizers, Jonathan T. Swain about the importance of this event and why they felt having the festival return this year was important.
Chicago Defender: What made you decide to bring the festival back this year, especially as we come out of a pandemic?
Jonathan T. Swain: “For me, the Hyde Park Summer Fest originated out of an absence of community festivals on the South Side. There were no homegrown South Side Street festivals nearly a decade ago. Our festival amplifies our greatest strength, community. The pandemic has taught us all the value of relationships and how much we need each other. The Hyde Park Summer Fest is an opportunity to connect and celebrate how far we’ve come.”
Chicago Defender: Yes, when you posted a brief announcement on social media, there was a collective joy.
Jonathan T. Swain: Right. That confirmed that this was the right thing to do. It spread like wildfire on social media. Like I said, we need something to celebrate and there is power in community. Especially when we gather in a positive way, and I think this is an opportunity for us to do that.
Chicago Defender: What prompted you to move the location to the Midway this year?
Jonathan T. Swain: We had conversations with our nonprofit partner, the chamber, and we recognize that because of the support we have, we have grown over time. We looked at a couple of different options. With 15 months of being in the house due to the pandemic, along with the cancellation of other events, we felt we would need a bigger space for people to spread out. We also wanted people to be able to spread out and have space in between each other, so they are not on top of one another the way it has been in previous years. Going into a bigger space made the best sense.
Chicago Defender: So, will the setup be similar with a stage and local vendors?
Jonathan T. Swain: absolutely. At the core of what we are trying to do is building the local economy. We want to make sure people have an opportunity to take advantage of everything offered at the Hyde Park Summer Festival. We will have a stage with music that fills the air. We are also working with a sponsor to have a silent disco to enjoy a different experience. But for us, it is just about being out there, enjoying good music, and connecting with people good food, vendors and having an all-around great experience. That is what we want to produce
Chicago Defender: The Hyde Park Summerfest is known for some incredible music. Who can we expect to hear this year?
Jonathan T. Swain: We have not finished finalizing the lineup but our focus this year is on our local talent. We have Alan King, Terry Hunter, and Jazzy Jeff who will be returning. This year we really want to highlight our homegrown talent. This year’s lineup will be Chicago heavy, and Chicago focused. We have more details on the lineup coming soon.
Chicago Defender: Where can potential vendors apply?
Jonathan T. Swain: Potential vendors can use our web application on our website to apply. On the website, click the tab for vendors and pick food, retail merchant, or nonprofit.
More information on becoming a vendor, music, and other details will be released later this summer and on the Hyde Park Summer Fest Website.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSanders20.