The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the headliners for the 30th Annual Chicago Blues Festival: Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Johnson, Otis Clay, The Bar-Kays, Eddie Floyd, Sir Mack Rice and a multigenerational Chicago blues showcase finale featuring James Cotton, Lil’ Ed and Billy Branch, among others, closing the festival on Sunday. Admission is free.
Thursday, June 6: Opening Night in Millennium Park
Announced in February, the festival will open for the first time at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on June 6. Shemekia Copeland will headline the evening with special guest, blues guitar prodigy and Buddy Guy collaborator Quinn Sullivan. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with openers Fernando Jones’ Blues Kids of America followed by Jamiah on Fire & the Red Machine.
Moving to Grant Park for the weekend, the festival is “Rollin’ Up the River” to celebrate the blues with a musical journey up the Mississippi River. During the great migration from the south in the 1940s and 1950s, the “delta blues” landed in Chicago establishing the genre’s electric guitar sound known as the “Chicago blues” style. The voyage will start in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mississippi on Friday; then continue on to Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday; ending in Chicago on Sunday, where the blues electrified the world.