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CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL

JUNE 7 – 9, 2019 • Free Admission • Millennium Park

There’s a reason blues musicians sing about “sweet home Chicago.” Chicago historically has been a beacon to musicians looking for bigger crowds and more places to play. Following the “Great Migration,” Southern blues musicians made Chicago one of the country's major hotspots for blues music.

Fittingly, the annual Chicago Blues Festival is the city's largest music festival. More than 500,000 blues fans prove that blues roots still run deep in Chicago.

Building on more than four decades of tradition, the Chicago Blues Festival will celebrate the genre's rich heritage and newest talents with three days of performances — all FREE and open to the public, no tickets required. And all within breathtaking Millennium Park.

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Check out a glimpse of this year's lineup:

Friday, June 7

Blues Hall of Fame member, Bobby Rush will headline the festival on opening day. The GRAMMY Award-winning artist was named by Rolling Stone "The King of the Chitlin' Circuit" for his vigorous touring schedule and energetic show. Before Bobby Rush takes the stage, the Jimmy Johnson Blues Band will mark the 90th birthday of Mr. Johnson, one of the genre’s legendary artists and member of the Blues Hall of Fame. The evening will lead off with Charlie Musselwhite joined by special guest Billy Boy Arnold. The famed Memphis harmonica player has won numerous awards and become an icon. Shortly before winning the GRAMMY Award for Best Blues Album for their collaboration Get Up!, he and Ben Harper played at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady in a salute to Memphis soul.

Saturday, June 8

The award-winning and legendary soul artist Bettye LaVette will headline the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage. One of the very few of her contemporaries who were recording during the birth of soul music in the '60s, LaVette is still creating vital recordings today. Opening the evening’s showcase are Don Bryant and Latimore. Don Bryant started his career as a gospel music artist at an early age and found soul at Hi Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Most recently, he was invited to perform with the Memphis-based soul homage outfit The Bo-Keys. R&B singer, songwriter, keyboardist and Blues Hall of Famer, Latimore will kick off the night. His electric keyboard comes complete with “string-bending” guitar sound effects.

Sunday, June 9

Ruthie Foster will headline the closing night of the festival. The award-winning artist’s latest album Joy Comes Back, described as “some folk, some blues, some soul, some rock, some gospel,” illustrates Ruthie’s genre-spanning talent. Also on the bill, a special tribute set for the late Mike Ledbetter by The CONNECTION with Mike Welch & Friends. Mike Ledbetter had been invited to perform at this year’s festival with the Welch-Ledbetter Connection before his untimely death in January. Larkin Poe, the American roots sister duo poised to make their mark with the 2018 release of Venom & Faith, will open the stage on the final evening.

Explore the full daily schedule.

Chicago Blues Festival
CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL