The Chicago Blues Festival 2017

The Chicago Blues Festival, June 9-11, 2017 at Millennium Park 

Chicago Blues Festival 


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 five stages, more than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World." Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.


Friday, June 9

This year's festival kicks-off with Billy Branch & The Son of Blues with special guests Lurrie Bell, Freddie Dixon, J.W.S. Williams, Carlos Johnson, Carl Weathersby, Bill McFarland and Chicago Fire Horns and Mae Koen and The Lights.

Billy Branch & The Son of Blues

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5-6pm - John Primer and The Real Deal
  • 6:20-7:05pm - Rhymefest
  • 7:20-9:20pm - Celebrating 40 Years: Billy Branch & The Son of Blues with special guests Lurrie Bell, Freddie Dixon, J.W.S. Williams, Carlos Johnson, Carl Weathersby, Bill McFarland and Chicago Fire Horns and Mae Koen & The Lights

Budweiser Crossroads Stage (South Promenade)Guy King

  • 11:15-12:15am - Demetria Taylor
  • 12:45-1:45pm - Mary Lane and the No Static Blues Band
  • 2:15-3:15pm - Nick Moss Band
  • 3:45-4:45pm - The Mike Wheeler Band
  • 5:15-6:15pm - Guy King

Mississippi Juke Joint (North Promenade)Eden Brent

  • 11:30am-12:30pm - Blues in the Schools with Katherine Davis and Stone Academy
  • 1-2pm - Eden Brent
  • 2:30-3:30pm - Cedric Burnside Project
  • 4-5pm - Jarekus Singleton
      • 5:30-7:30pm - Jam Session with Cedric Burnside

Front Porch Stage (Harris Theater Rooftop)

  • 12 Noon–1pm - Rip Lee Pryor
  • 1:20–2:20pm - The Jimmy Burns Band
  • 2:45-3:45pm - Henry Gray & Bob Corritore
  • 4:15–5:15pm - Tribute to Barrelhouse Chuck featuring Billy Flynn, Johnny Iguana, Roosevelt Purifoy and Piano Willie OShawny

Saturday, June 10

Headliners include William Bell (pictured), Theo Huff and the New Agenda Band, and Nellie Tiger Travis.

William Bell (Photo by: David McClister)

Jay Pritzker Pavilion (Soul/R&B Night)

  • 5-6pm - Nellie Tiger Travis
  • 6:30-7:45pm - Theo Huff and the New Agenda Band
  • 8:15-9:30pm - William Bell

Budweiser Crossroads Stage (South Promenade)The Source One Band

  • 11:15am-12:15pm - Chicago Wind with Matthew Skoller & Deitra Farr
  • 12:45-1:45pm - Lynne Jordan & The Shivers
  • 2:15-3:15pm - Big Bill Morganfield
  • 3:45-4:45pm - Coco Montoya
  • 5:15-6:15pm - Southside Tribute to Killer Ray Allison with Joe Pratt & The Source One Band and JoJo Murray

Mississippi Juke Joint (North Promenade)Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

  • 11:30am-12:30pm - Panel Discussion: Mississippi Blues Trail 10th Anniversary with Jim O’Neal, Dr. Edgar Smith, Scott Barretta and Alex Thomas
  • 1-2pm - Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
  • 2:30-3:30pm - Bridges to the Blues by Donda’s House
  • 4-5pm - Vick Allen
  • 5:30-7:30pm - Jam Session with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

Front Porch Stage (Harris Theater Rooftop)

  • 12 Noon-1pm - Khalif Wailin’ Walter
  • 1:20-2:20pm - Eddie Taylor, Jr.’s Tribute to Eddie Taylor, Sr.
  • 2:45-3:45pm - Jimmy Johnson Band
  • 4:15-5:15pm - Harmonica Hinds Quartet



Sunday, June 11

The festival closes on Sunday with headliners Gary Clark Jr. (pictured), Rhiannon Giddens, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

Gary Clark Jr.


Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5-6pm - Ronnie Baker Brooks
  • 6:20-7:20pm - Rhiannon Giddens
  • 7:40-9:30pm - Gary Clark Jr.

Budweiser Crossroads Stage (South Promenade)

  • 11:15am-12:15 - Tail Dragger and the Allstars
  • 12:45-1:45pm - The Blues Disciples with special guest Ms. Erica Johnson & Milwaukee Slim
  • 2:15-3:15pm - Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band
  • 3:45-4:45pm - Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
  • 5:15-6:15pm - Melvia “Chick” Rodgers

Mississippi Juke Joint (North Promenade)

  • 11:30am-12:30 - Panel Discussion: Tribute to Amy Van Singel with Dick Shurman, Jim O’Neal and Rebecca Sive
  • 1-2pm - JJ Thames
  • 2:30-3:30pm - Zakiya Hooker
  • 4-5pm - Denise LaSalle
  • 5:30-7:45pm - Jam Session with Eddie Taylor, Jr.

Front Porch Stage (Harris Theater Rooftop)

  • 12 Noon-1pm - The Como Mamas
  • 1:20-2:20pm - Mud Morganfield Band
  • 2:45-3:45pm - Chi-Town Harp Showcase featuring Omar Coleman, Russ Green and Lamont Harris
  • 4:15-5:15pm - Wallace Coleman



Blues Harmonica Legend James Cotton: July 1, 1935 - March 16, 2017

The Chicago Blues Festival is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary James Cotton - a true giant and blues harmonica master. Mr. Cotton was scheduled to perform at the festival this year with Billy Branch. We were honored to have him perform on the festival stage in 2013 for a Chicago Blues set like no other! May he rest in peace.






Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr., December 18, 1933 – April 1, 2017)


Lonnie BrooksStatement from Mayor Emanuel on Lonnie Brooks


Lonnie Brooks was a Chicago blues legend with a towering talent and soulful style that won him legions of fans across the country and around the world. His celebrated career inspired generations of music lovers, garnered numerous awards and brought him from the clubs of Chicago's west side to the concert halls of Europe and beyond. Amy and my thoughts and prayers are with Lonnie Brooks' family, friends and fans who are mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable life.

Brooks died in Chicago, Illinois, United States, on April 1, 2017, at the age of 83.

Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr.) was an American blues singer and guitarist. The musicologist Robert Palmer, writing in Rolling Stone, stated, "His music is witty, soulful and ferociously energetic, brimming with novel harmonic turnarounds, committed vocals and simply astonishing guitar work."Jon Pareles, a music critic for the New York Times, wrote, "He sings in a rowdy baritone, sliding and rasping in songs that celebrate lust, fulfilled and unfulfilled; his guitar solos are pointed and unhurried, with a tone that slices cleanly across the beat. Wearing a cowboy hat, he looks like the embodiment of a good-time bluesman." Howard Reich, a music critic for the Chicago Tribune, wrote, "...the music that thundered from Brooks' instrument and voice...shook the room. His sound was so huge and delivery so ferocious as to make everything alongside him seem a little smaller." (Wikipedia)

Lonnie BrooksLonnie Brooks












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