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Chicago Blues Festival Celebrates 25 Years of Music at Grant Park
Chicago Blues Festival Celebrates 25 Years of Music at Grant Park

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The Chicago Blues Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The popular blues events the biggest summer music event in the city. The festival will be held from Thursday, June 5 through Sunday, June 8. Crowds of blues lovers attend the free music festival in Grant Park, near the Lake Michigan Lake front. The sound of music will fill the air and delight the ears. Lake front breezes and June weather create pleasant days and nights in Grant Park.

The blues festival celebrates the heritage of blues music by remembering legendary performers who created the music. The 2008 festival will celebrate the centennials of Louis Jordan, Robert Petway and Tommy McClennan. The Chicago Blues Festival was first held in 1984. In that first year there was one stage. 165,000 people attended the three day festival The annual music festival has become an important event in the City of Chicago. In 2007 the festival entertainment was held on six stages, with 800,000 people attending the four day event.

Blues in the Schools is a tradition that opens the festival every year. The festival provides a narrative to explain the heritage of the blues tradition, helping to promote understanding of the music that has been woven into the fabric of American culture. Professional musicians take up residence in the school several weeks before the festival, giving the children training in blues music, blues history and the ability to perform blues songs. The students open the festival with their blues performance.

Over the past 25 years, performers have traveled to Chicago from around the world to entertain at Grant Park. Crowds gather to enjoy the summer sunshine and views of Lake Michigan while listening to blues music. Music lovers can wander from stage to stage to enjoy the variety of blues.

There are several stages of blues music at the Chicago Blues Festival, including: Petrillo Music Shell, U.S. Cellular Front Porch, Louisiana Bayou Station and Social Club, Gibson Guitar’s Crossroads, Mississippi Juke Joint, Maxwell Street Corner and Zone Perfect All-Natural Nutrition Bars Route 66 Roadhouse.

Headliners at Petrillo Music Shell:

Thursday, June 5. “Catfish Blues:” Opening night performers include: Johnny Winter with James Cotton, Big Time Sarah and the BTS Express, Duke Robillard’s Tribute to Louis Jordan.

Friday, June 6, “Sweet Home Chicago;” The Queen of Blues, Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater.

Saturday, June 7: “Let the Good Times Roll:” Buckwheat Zydeco, Lil’ Ed  amp; the Blues Imperials, Theodis Ealey, Barbara Lynn with Lil’ Buck and the Buckaroos

Sunday, June 8, “Everyday I Have the Blues:” Blues legend B.B. King. Little Willie Littlefield, Guitarist Bobby Parker, Vocalist Karen Carroll

Admission to the Chicago Blues Festival is Free. The festival runs from June 5-8. Festival hours are 11 am to 9:30 pm.

Dogs are not allowed on festival grounds. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed into the festival grounds.

The City of Chicago encourage public transportation to the festival because traffic can get congested. Parking is not available at the festival grounds. Parking garages are located at Millennium Park Garage and the Grant Park Underground Parking Garage for a fee.

The Chicago Blues Festival is sponsored by 93XRT, Chicago Tribune, CLTV Television, Dominick’s, Hinckley Springs, U.S. Cellular and WGN Television.

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