The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and the largest music festival in Chicago. It is only fitting that the festival takes place in Chicago which has been named the “Blues Capital of the World”. Blues fest Chicago has been an annual Chicago tradition for the past 25 years and planning is already in the works for the 2009 festival.
Each year the festival which takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park during mid-June features numerous blues legends. The festival hosts artists from every genre of blues including Chicago blues, Mississippi blues, old country blues, electric, acoustic, harp and piano blues. The blues has had such an impact on other styles of music that the event may also feature soul, jazz and rock acts. The event which features local and international talent draws nearly a million visitors.
Blues fest Chicago usually runs from Thursday through Sunday during the hours of 11AM to 9:30PM. Admission is free for all concerts on all six stages. Tickets can be purchased for food and beverages and the tickets are usually sold in strips of 12. The price in 2008 was $8 for a strip of 12. Alcoholic beverages and pets are not permitted on the grounds of the festival.
The festival began in 1984, a year after the death of Muddy Waters who was known as “The Father of Chicago Blues.” Each year since then the organizers have picked a different theme for the festival. The theme has usually honored a blues musician who has passed away recently and has also honored what would have been the 80th and 100th birthdays of some of our departed blues legends.
Artists who have performed at blues fest Chicago over the past 25 years include B.B. King, Etta James, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Taj Mahal, the Neville Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan and hundreds of others. The festival also features tributes and discussions. The 2008 festival featured “A Tribute to Muddy Waters” and a discussion on “The Future of the Blues”.
Although the official festival day ends at 9:30PM, the party is just beginning. Chicago’s blues clubs are bound to have after parties and in many cases you will be partying with the festival stars. You can usually count on “The House of Blues” for a great after party. If you want to get your party on before the festival you may check out the annual Blues Fest Brunch which is usually held at Buddy Guy’s Legends on the Saturday of the festival.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to experience blues at its best! The 2009 festival will take place from June 11-June 14th. Why not start making plans to be there?