June 13-15, 2014 • Free Admission • Grant Park
There’s a reason blues musicians sing about “Sweet Home Chicago.” Chicago has historically been a beacon to musicians looking for bigger crowds and more places to play. Following the “Great Migration,” blues musicians from the South made Chicago one of the biggest spots in the country for blues music.

Fittingly, the annual Chicago Blues Festival is the city's largest music festival, too. More than a half-million people flock to Chicago's "front yard" for free outdoor concerts in the park. The festival initially began in honor of Muddy Waters, and with lineups that have included such greats as Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor, each year it celebrates the genre's rich heritage and forthcoming talents.

This year, the festival theme celebrates "Blues by the Lake" over three days with four stages of music and three performance areas in downtown Grant Park:
  • Petrillo Music Shell
  • Bud Light Crossroads Stage
  • The Jackson Rhythm and Blues Stage
  • Pepsi Front Porch Stage
  • Southwest Airlines Blues Lounge
  • Meet Me in Memphis Blues Pavilion
  • Windy City Blues Society Tent


Preview Events: May & June

  • Hours: Vary
May and June are celebratory blues month in Chicago and preview events before the big weekend festival include concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center, Daley Plaza, Navy Pier Beer Garden and other neighborhood locations citywide.

Friday, June 13

  • Hours: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Following the daytime performances, Petrillo Music Shell will open with headlining artists beginning at 6:00 pm with the Grammy® Award winning trio Carolina Chocolate Drops. As the evening continues, blues fans will be treated to a ground-breaking performance from the Otis Taylor Band at 7:05 pm.

Capping off opening night is a special tribute and centennial celebration honoring John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson at 8:25 pm, performed by a group of musicians influenced by his harmonica “crossed-harp” style. Led by renowned harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, who played with Sonny Boy, the group performance will include the Siegal-Schwall Blues Band with bassist Rolo Radford and drummer Sam Lay, Marcella Detroit, Billy Branch and Omar Coleman.


Saturday, June 14

  • Hours: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday night rolls in with rhythm and blues vocalist Theo Huff at 6:00 pm on the Petrillo stage, followed by star soul singer/songwriter and producer Willie Clayton at 6:55 pm.

Headlining the evening will be blues singer extraordinaire Bettye LaVette at 8:15 pm. The American vocalist started her rise to fame beginning at the age of sixteen, and has amassed multiple hit songs in her 50+ year career.


Sunday, June 15

  • Hours: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Opening Sunday performances at Petrillo is vocalist Nikki Hill at 5:30 pm, who has been called the "Southern Fireball." Music legend Aaron Neville will take the stage at 6:45 pm, revisiting the doo-wop music he grew up with and is known for as a solo artist and performer in the famed group, the Neville Brothers.

At 8:15 pm, the festival finale closes out with Dr. John (or Mac Rebennack as known to friends and family), the five-time Grammy® Award winner whose colorful career and unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots embodies the rich musical heritage of New Orleans.




Read about items allowed on festival grounds, the list of food vendors & more.

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Book hotels, plus get directions, parking options & accessibilty information.

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Learn about the first fest in 1984 and some of its greatest moments.

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For complete schedule and more information, visit the official Chicago Blues Festival website:

Chicago Social

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so true! Great way to think of it.
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Did you know that #Chicago Jazz Festival is over Labor Day Weekend? It's the perfect excuse to make the trip to Chicago to enjoy a weekend full of great music and fun. Don't forget to make it an extra long weekend and ask your boss for a few extra days off ;) Get the details and schedule here:
5 hours ago
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