World's Largest Block Party at Old St. Patrick's Church | Fest report + photo gallery
World's Largest Frat Party might be a better name for this weekend's Old St. Pat's 27th annual World's Largest Block Party—a fundraiser for the church programs—and I'm sure the crowd would love it just the same. I don't mean frat in a negative way—being a college girl of greek affiliation, I have many fond memories standing in a musky basement pumping beer from a stale keg. But Old. St. Pat's really does it right with better drinks, better music, and a (slightly) more mature crowd.
Old St. Pat's is stripped of mostly everything your traditional summer festival offers. No streets lined with artists trying to sell their latest creations, no promotional tents asking for you email address, and no screaming children. With one $40 ticket, each attendee with proper 21+ identification is given a plastic cup and tickets for five drinks (if you do the math, you end up spending this much on drinks at any other fest anyways). There's one main stage and basically a large empty parking lot with two keg-toting beer trucks—where one can choose Miller Lite or (my personal fest favorite) Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Barefoot also provided red and white wine options for the too-classy-for-beer-from-keg fest goers. Quang Noodles and Connie's Pizza offered the perfect drinking snacks without too many overwhleming options.
For the sake of professional fest-reporting, I must admit now that I had ulterior motives for waiting until Saturday to venture over to this two-day extravaganza. If you're not a Matt Nathanson fan (a.k.a my reason for attendance), please skip ahead while I gush (objectively) about his WLBP performance. I get it. Some people may think that after "Come On Get Higher" catapulted Nathanson to radio fame, he's only good for comfortably soft tracks about love. But the man has real talent and an even more real passion for what he does, which showed during his hour-long performance. Pulling mostly from his new record Modern Love, Nathanson kept a 2-3 drink deep audience awake with his sarcastic banter and a sing-a-long to Cee Lo Green's "F*** You" that would make St. Pat himself blush. Friday night, the Plain White T's, Cobra Starship and others had taken the stage—see our photo gallery, above.
Alternative-rock legends Barenaked Ladies took the stage as the crowd dispersed—and the band had a hard time reigning them all back in, with audience members well into drink ticket four or five of the night. Many couldn't help but sing along to the '90s classics "One Week," "Pinch Me" and "If I Had $1,000,000" but I don't think much of the crowd would have noticed if the stage was filled with nothing more than an amateur cover band.
Like most good frat parties, the kegs ran dry at 10pm and the fest-goers stumbled to the nearest bar to continue drinking. I guess we'll all just have to enjoy kid-friendly carnivals and $10 drinks for the rest of the summer. Until next year, Old St. Pat's.