New South Side music festival aims to fill ‘World’s Largest Block Party’ void


CHICAGO — Marist High School will transform the football field into a stage and music festival full of good vibrations this Saturday.  

The pack’s leader for what is called ‘Southside Summerfest’ is Father Tom Hurley.

“We got a beautiful piece of property. We’ve got this great stadium, so let’s fill it full of people and let’s have a good time over the summer,” Hurley said.  

SEE ALSO: What you need to know before you go to Lollapalooza

The former pastor at Old St. Pat’s is now back at his alma mater as vice president of Advancement and Ministry. 

Father Tom Hurley (Photo/WGN)

“It’s not a real hard playbook. You get some bands; you get some adult beverages; you get some good people together and have a good time and let’s enjoy the summer,” Hurley said.  

For 24 years, Father Tom helped put on Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party until it ended in 2019. 

“The World’s Largest Block Party was a great success, but we also knew by 2019 it was coming to an end because there was too much competition with so many other festivals and stuff downtown, but out here, I thought let’s try it out here. So it is a close cousin if you will,” Hurley said.  

The World’s Largest Block Party gained a reputation as a time and place for singles who met there going on to be married. Now, Hurley is taking that same passion and applying it to Marist High School. 

At the event, four bands, including 670 the Score’s Matt Spiegel and local legends Tributasaurus, will transform into Mick Jagger in The Rolling Stones and U2. 

“When this idea came up, it was like, ‘why not?’” said school president Larry Tucker. “People don’t want to go downtown as much these days. Here, you can stay in the community and have a great night.” 

In light of the recent events concerning CPD Officer Danny Golden, now paralyzed from the waist up after trying to break up a fight outside a nearby Western Avenue bar, all proceeds from t-shirt sales and tips will go toward his recovery. 

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“This isn’t just a Marist thing, this is for everybody on the Southside,” Hurley said.  

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Click here for more information.

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