Chicago is home to many great festivals and events. One of its greatest is the Chicago Blues Festival, held in Grant Park each June. This year's festival is a landmark celebration for the 25th Annual Chicago Blues Festival. The largest free admission Blues festival in the world, the four-day festival offers the best in national, international and local Blues entertainment on six stages with more than 70 performances, preceded by a month of Blues activities, known as Blues Season, throughout Chicago.
In commemoration of the 25th Annual event, the festival will not only feature a quarter of a century of the blues festival highlights but also celebrate the centennials of Louis Jordan, Tommy McLennan, and Blind John Davis. Throughout its history, the festival has presented countless number of blues notes and moments to millions of blues fans from around the world on Chicago's popular lakefront park. Chicago Blues Festival honors and keeps alive an important part of the city's heritage. The city's first Blues festival in 1984 helped open the Chicago summer festival season and came a year after the death of Muddy Waters.
Through the years, the festival has celebrated many benchmarks and celebrated the men and women who lived their lives playing and singing the blues. Where else have blues fans been able to watch as Chuck Berry shared the stage with Keith Richards, did circle dances with Janie Hunter, or John Lee Hooker performed a "Boogie chillen'" solo for a crowd of hundreds.
The 25th Annual Blues Festival will deliver the same snapshot moments crowds have come to expect. Crowds will receive the royal treatment on Friday evening, June 6, with headliners Koko Taylor and her Blues Machine, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, and a special set honoring the past, featuring Ruby Andrews, Cicero Blake and Jackie Ross.
The Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, is no stranger to Chicago, which she calls home. Known for her rough and powerful vocals, Taylor has recorded for Chess Records, and most recently with Alligator Records. She has won more than 25 W.C. Handy awards and performs more than 100 concerts annually. Her talent has influenced powerful female musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin and Shemekia Copeland.
Eddy Clearwater is a versatile Chicago blues performer who has been nominated for and won several W.C. Handy awards. He is known for his stage performance as a showman, which includes his left-handed upside down guitar playing. On Friday evening, he will perform with the entire cast of his newly released CD, West Side Strut. The project features Billy Branch, Otis Clay, Jimmy Johnson, Lonnie Brooks, and band members of Ronnie Brooks (son of Lonnie Brooks), along with Eddy's band mates. Chicago Blues Festival fans will be fortunate to see these greats playing together on one stage at the Petrillo Music Shell for one memorable night.
On Sunday evening, June 8, Chicago is in for a royal treatment with an appearance by Blues legend, B.B. King. The festival's final night will be majestic with headliners that also include Little Willie Littlefield, Bobby Parker, and Karen Carroll with Charlie Love and special guest Lurrie Bell. Known as the King of Blues, B.B. King has graced the stages worldwide, and at age 82, he continues to tour as often as he did in his youth. King last played at the festival in 1988. With one of the most identifiable styles in the music business, King has influenced a myriad of talented musicians, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and George Harrison.
The Chicago Blues Festival has grown tremendously in its 25 years and now features more than one hundred performances on seven stages and extended hours of 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Chicago Blues Festival is known world-wide as one of the biggest and best Blues events on the planet, drawing hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to Grant Park, year after year.
Ann Knapp, Freelance Writer for Soave Enterprises, a diversified management and investment company founded by Detroit businessman Anthony L. Soave that provides strategic planning, financial and other management resources to its affiliated business ventures in the real estate, automotive retailing, beer distribution, scrap metal, industrial services and transportation industries, among others.Soave.com