Chicago Blues Festival

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The Blues Festival is among the most important annual public festivities in the city.
The Blues Festival stage at the Petrillo Music Shell before nightfall
A Blues Festival performer plays jazz

The Chicago Blues Festival is an annual event held in June that features three days of performances by top-tier blues musicians, both old favorites and the up-and-coming. It is hosted by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (formerly the Mayor's Office of Special Events), and always occurs in early June. The event has always taken place at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, adjacent to the Lake Michigan waterfront east of the Loop in Chicago.

History of the festival[edit]

Chicago has a storied history with blues that goes back generations stemming from the Great Migration from the South and particularly the Mississippi Delta region in pursuit of advancement and better career possibilities for musicians.[1][2] Created by Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg, the festival began in 1984,[2] a year after the death of McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, who is generally considered "the father of Chicago blues".[3] Each year the organizers choose a theme, generally to honor a recently departed blues musician.[4] Obviously, Chicago blues acts are common. Also, in keeping with the blues' influence on other musical genres, there are some soul, jazz blues and blues-rock acts. Since those early beginnings the festival has risen to a status that the City of Chicago bills as the world's largest free concert of its kind.[5] The Blues Festival is the largest of the city's music festivals.[5]

Past performers[edit]

Albert King, The Aces, B. B. King, Bill Doggett, Golden "Big" Wheeler, Billy Branch, Bo Diddley, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bobby Rush, Buckwheat Zydeco, Buddy Guy, Calvin Jones, Carey Bell, Carl Perkins, Chicago Blues Museum All Stars, Barrelhouse Chuck, Chuck Berry, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Dave Myers, Detroit Jr., Dion Payton, Dr. John, Eddie Boyd, Eddie C. Campbell, Eddie Vinson, Eddy Clearwater, Etta James, Fenton Robinson, Floyd Jones, Fontella Bass, Hank Ballard, Henry Townsend, Homesick James, Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Jerry Portnoy, Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Jody Williams, John Lee Hooker, Johnnie Taylor, John Brim, Johnny Shines, Johnny Winter, Junior Wells, Keith Richards, Koko Taylor, Little Milton, Little Willie Littlefield, Lonnie Brooks, Lowell Fulson, Louisiana Red, Luther Allison, Lurrie Bell, Magic Slim, Matt Murphy, Memphis Slim, Mick Taylor, The Neville Brothers, The Ice Cream Men, Otis Rush, Pee Wee Crayton, Pinetop Perkins, Ray Charles, Robert Cray Band, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sam Lay, Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, Snooky Pryor, Son Seals, Lacy Gibson, Staple Singers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sugar Blue, Sunnyland Slim, Taildragger, Taj Mahal, Willie Buck, Willie Dixon, Yank Rachell, Lil' Ed Williams and the Blues Imperials, Johnny B. Moore, Harmonica Hinds,[6] Linsey Alexander, Liz Mandeville, Holle Thee Maxwell.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Runice, Jacky (2007). "Chicago Blues Festival". AOL, LLC. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  2. ^ a b Green, Adam (2005). "Blues". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  3. ^ "Chicago Blues Festival". Chicagofests.com. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  4. ^ Whiteis, David (2003). "Chicago Reader: Chicago Blues Festival". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  5. ^ a b "GoTo - Chicago Blues Festival 2007". CityofChicago.org. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  6. ^ "Chicago Blues Festival - Performer Bios". The City of Chicago's Official Site. City of Chicago. 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 

Imagery[edit]

See also[edit]