23.5 C
New York

Chicago Blues Festival : A Comprehensive Guide


Annually in June, the city’s Chicago Blues Festival showcases three concerts by top-tier blues performers, including established artists and up-and-comers. It always takes place in the first week of June. The Metropolis sponsors it concerning the Chicago Bureau of Cultural Resources and Special Events (previously the Office of the Mayor of Special Events).

Until 2017, the occasion was always held in and around Grant Park’s Petrillo Music Shell, close to the lakefront and east towards the Loop in Chicago. The event was relocated to the adjacent Millennium Park in 2017.

This article will cover the history of the Chicago Blues Festival and the lineup of Chicago Blues Festivals. Also, we will cover some common FAQs.

The History of Chicago Blues Festival

Since the influx of immigrants from the South, especially the Mississippi Delta area, in search of progress and better job opportunities for artists, Chicago has a long and illustrious history with the blues that dates back centuries.

The event was started in 1984, a year after the passing of McKinley Morganfield, more commonly known as Muddy Waters, who is regarded as the “father of Chicago blues” by the Commissioner in Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg. Every year, the planners decide on a motif, usually in memory of a recently deceased blues artist. Chicago blues performers are undoubtedly prevalent. 

The 100th anniversaries of the lives of the late Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon were commemorated at the event in 2015. With Alex Dixon on bass, the 100th Anniversary Tribute featured several artists who had performed alongside Muddy Waters alongside his children, Muddy Morganfield along with Big Bill Morganfield.

Additionally, some acts play soul, jazz blues, and blues-rock music, continuing the blues’ impact on other musical styles. Since those humble origins, Chicago Blues Festival has grown to become the biggest music event in the entire city of Chicago and the most significant open event of its kind in the globe. 

The Lineup for the Chicago Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival honors the history, current, and future of blues music with a diverse schedule of performances in the city’s famous Millennium Park.

The Chicago Blues event, the biggest free blues event in the world, offers music lovers four days of live performances on four platforms. Alumni from The Blues Capital of the World include B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy, and Koko Taylor.

Chicago Blues Festival’s Key Features

  • Every year, in the first few days of June, Chicago, Illinois, hosts the Chicago Blues Festival. Each year, hundreds of blues fans attend one of the most significant blues events in the world.
  • On multiple platforms, the celebration includes performances by regional and national blues artists, food and drink stands, and other events.
  • Legendary musicians like the late B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters have previously performed.
  • The event is usually hosted in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park, and entry is free. But some shows might demand reservations, which can be ordered beforehand.

This Chicago Blues Festival is unquestionably worthwhile to attend if you enjoy blues music!

How you found the City’s Blues Festival

On the Chicago Blues Festival grounds, you’ll observe an overwhelming sense of custom and a sizable population of traditionalists. Investigating is the wisest course of action. If you are ready to look, you will almost certainly find undiscovered gems and newly discovered masterpieces, regardless of how long you have been a lover of the music or how recent you are. It’s directly in the center of downtown Chicago, next to the Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean“.

Choose the venue for your preferred form of entertainment. This Juke Junction Stage upon the North walkway frequently hosts performances by southern musicians. An excellent vantage spot to watch charity groups erect pop-up tents at The Front Porch Theater in Wrigley Square. There will also be performances at Rosa’s Lounge and the Park Grill Stage. You can listen to only the finest blues music anywhere.  

The Festival’s Best Vantage points are from

Aside from the fantastic music and incredible atmosphere, the most remarkable thing about this Chicago Blues Festival event is that it is free! The decision to sit among the crowd is also made on an initial come, first served premise. Up until the commencement of the performance, general sitting is available on the central Lawn and the Pavilion.

Due to capacity protocol, if you attempt to reserve seats for pals but they arrive after the first performance begins, you are going to be requested to give up those spots. In light of this, you had to come earlier if you like getting front-row activity!

Schedule for the Chicago Blues Festival in 2023

The 39th Chicago Blues Festival celebrations will be held at about 11 a.m. at 9 p.m. every day from June 8 to June 11, 2023. From 5 to 9 p.m., a Jay Pritzker Pavilion will welcome stars. Be sure to return for the complete event timetable and the formal lineup. 

Top Ideas

Despite how miserable summer is in Chicago, it will soon become very sweltering. For weather protection, be sure to bring everything on our list. The back of your neck responds remarkably well to ice packs or damp clothing. Even though the food at the refreshment stand is tasty, if you are on a tight budget, you can save a lot of money by packing your snacks and beverages. 


What things are not permitted on the festival’s grounds?

  • Grills for bbq (open flames)
  • Explosives or fireworks
  • Firearms and illegal drugs
  • Portable shelters/tents
  • Beach and lunch canopies
  • A flagpole
  • Every companion (except service animals)

Can I bring a blanket and foldable chair for the Chicago Blues Fest?

Yes, but the Jay Pritzker Pavilion’s seating section does not permit folding seats.

Do they allow lunch baskets?

Yes! The ideal setting for lunch, outdoor concerts, and dinner is Millennium Park.

Can I Reserve the Pavilion chairs?

General sitting is offered as needed in the Pavillion and main Lawn. Before the commencement of each performance, you may reserve only one seat in the Pavilion. You must vacate your spot once the performance has begun. If the Pavilion and Great Lawn are full, Millennium Park retains the right to shut them. We value your cooperation in assuring the safety and success of your concert-going adventure.

What is the stance on rain?

Rain or shine, barring severe weather alerts and/or the danger of lightning, concerts, and shows are performed within the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. There is no weather protection for the Pavilion chairs. A high-tech construction enables water to drain rapidly from The Great Lawn’s underlying strata of sand and stones.

Are audio recording devices permitted at concerts?

At all Jay Pritzker Concert Pavilion performances, photography, videography, or recording equipment is not permitted.

Can I smoke?

The Lurie Garden, Great Lawn, east and west walkways by the bathrooms, toward the east and west Exelon Buildings, and the sitting areas belonging to the Jay Pritzker Amphitheatre and Great Lawn are all no-smoking zones.

Chicago Blues Fest

Click Here: If you also want to learn about the Saudi New Futuristic City “Neom“.


The yearly Chicago Blues Festival was previously hosted in Central Park’s Petrillo Music Shell, but in 2017 it was moved to Millennium Park. The Chicago Blues Festival was started in 1984 to commemorate the passing of McKinley Morganfield, the “father of Chicago blues”. In 2015, the 100th Anniversary Tribute featured several artists who had performed alongside Muddy Waters and his children. The festival has grown to become the biggest music event in the entire city of Chicago and the most significant open event of its kind in the globe.

The Chicago Blues Festival is the biggest free blues event in the world, featuring B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy, and Koko Taylor, an old member of the Blues. It’s free to join, but you must make an advanced booking for specific events. Some items are prohibited at festivals.

Related articles

Recent articles