The city of Chicago will celebrate its rich musical heritage with the 34th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, taking place from Friday, June 9 to Sunday, June 11 at Millennium Park. The festival’s performers represent a variety of genres influenced by the blues, including R&B, rock and hip hop.
Friday evening’s performances will begin with a set from John Primer and the Real Deal at 5:00 PM at the Pritzker Pavilion. Primer, now the leader of his own group, was the guitarist and bandleader for Chicago blues legends Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters. Following Primer is the Grammy award-winning rapper Rhymefest. Blues harmonica player Billy Branch will end the night with a set celebrating the 40th anniversary of his band the Sons of Blues.
Scroll down to find our interviews with artists performing at the festival, including Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, Wallace Coleman, and more
Saturday’s performances at the Pritzker Pavilion will highlight the influence of the blues on soul and R&B music. The night kicks off with sets from Mississippi-born soul singer Nellie “Tiger” Travis and contemporary blues group Theo Huff and the New Agenda Band. Saturday’s headliner is the legendary soul singer William Bell. The longtime Stax Records recording artist, best remembered for his hit singles in the ‘60s and ‘70s, recently won a Grammy for his 2016 album This is Where I Live.
Sunday’s lineup includes Chicago blues guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks and singer, violinist, and banjoist Rhiannon Giddens. Taking the stage at 7:40 PM is blues rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Clark is one of the leading figures in contemporary blues music, blending traditional elements of the genre with rock, soul, and hip hop.
The festival's full schedule includes daytime performances at stages throughout Millennium Park.
Friday, June 9th
11:15 AM to 9:20 PM
Saturday, June 10th
11:15 AM to 9:30 PM
Sunday, June 11th
11:15 AM to 9:30 PM
201 E. Randolph St.
Michigan Ave. & Columbus Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
All events are free to the public.