Mark your calendars now to see Bobby Rush and legendary soul artist Bettye LaVette, headliners for this year’s FREE 2019 Chicago Blues Festival planned the weekend of June 7-9 in the city’s Millennium Park. Experience Chicago’s rich blues music legacy at the 36th Annual Chicago Blues Festival happening Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9 in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.). The Chicago Blues Festival will celebrate the genre’s music legacy in Chicago with live performances on six stages by the local and national blues artists in the city’s premier outdoor music venue.
Admission to the Chicago Blues Festival is free. For complete details, visit ChicagoBluesFestival.us.
As the birthplace of house, gospel music, urban blues and other beloved genres, Chicago invites music lovers from around the world to celebrate its music legacy at the Chicago Blues Festival (June 7–9) – on stage in Millennium Park, at the Chicago Cultural Center as well as in music venues and clubs throughout the city.
“With a diverse lineup celebrating the blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival features live music performances on multiple stages in Millennium Park,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “Each year national and local artists celebrate the city’s rich Blues tradition while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock hip-hop and more.”
Headliners on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage will perform from 5 to 9pm each evening. Music and entertainment throughout the park will begin at 11am each day.
Friday, June 7 – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
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–Jay Pritzker Pavilion
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–Jay Pritzker Pavilion
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.
201 E. Randolph St.
Michigan Ave. & Columbus Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. During three days on four stages, blues fans enjoy free live music in the “Blues Capital of the World.” Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, the late Ray Charles, the late B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, the late Koko Taylor, Shemekia Copeland, Gary Clark Jr, Rhiannon Giddens, Lil Ed and the Imperials and Bobby Rush.