Chicago Blues Festival

Grant Park 337 East Randolph Street Chicago

Beyond the Blues/Chicago Blues Festival
Paul Natkin
Written By Paul Natkin

Photojournalist Paul Natkin captures his love for music through the lens of his camera; no wonder he has worked with the biggest names in music during his 40-year career.

For three days each June, Chicago’s Grant Park is home to the largest free blues festival on the planet. More than half a million blues fans from around the world gather here to get their fill of great music from both the famous and up-and-coming musicians. The event boasts seven different venues from big concerts by the weekend’s headliners to intimate performances and lectures.

There is continuous music from 11am to 9:30 pm daily and the lineup changes every year. 

In 2016 the headliners include Shemekia Copeland, Curtis Salgado, Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials, Corky Siegel, Fred Wesley & The New JB's, Irma Thomas, Wee Willie Walker & We "R", and an all-star tribute to Otis Rush featuring Jimmy Johnson, Abb Locke, Brian Jones, Carl Weathersby, Bob Stroger, Sumito Ariyoshi, Big Ray, Eddy Clearwater, John Kattke, Mike Welch, Rawl Hardman, Harlan Terson, Bob Levis, Billy Flynn, Mike Wheeler, Lurrie Bell, Shun Kikuta, Mike Ledbetter, Eddie Shaw, Sam Burton, Willie Henderson, Diane Blue, Ronnie Earl, Anthony Palmer, Kenny Anderson, Leon Allen, and Henry Ford & Willie Woods.

There’s a lot of great food to purchase, too. Restaurants and food trucks make sure your body won’t go hungry while music fills your soul.

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Beyond the Blues

Chicago Blues Festival

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