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Where to find the After-Shows outside Millennium Park

We’ve been waiting patiently all year for the warm weather that finally has arrived and now it’s onto the biggest FREE blues festival in the world! The Chicago Blues Festival  takes place in Millennium Park (for the second time) from June 8, 9, 10.

 Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. The blues clubs haven’t even begun to heat up when the fest closes for the night. There are events before, during, and after the fest all over town.

 Here are some suggestions for places to go hear live blues “Beyond the Blues Fest.”  (Scroll down for story.)

For a complete list of Chicago & suburban area blues clubs, see our club directory in The Guide section.

To see the Chicago Blues Fest schedule, click HERE.

Be sure to visit our website:

See you in Millennium Park and all over town!

JUNE 7, Thursday -- SPECIAL EVENT: Live Broadcast Concert FREE!!!

WXRT radio (93.1 FM) will broadcast live from Buddy Guy’s Legends for a FREE concert on June 7, the Thursday before Chicago Blues Fest. There will be performances by Ronnie Baker Brooks Band and Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues, plus a guest appearance by Buddy Guy!  The annual show will be emceed by Shemekia Copeland and DJ Tom Marker. The FREE event starts at 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Get there early!


Thursday June 7: WDCB’s Live Broadcast Concert FREE!!!

WDCB radio (90.9 FM) hosts its third annual salute to blues piano at PianoForte Studios, 1335 S. Michigan, Chicago. A live radio performance by blues piano master Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi, with WDCB’s Leslie Keros emceeing, will air at 12 Noon – 1 p.m. The public is welcome to attend this free show.


Blues Heaven Foundation/Chess Records

2120 S. Michigan, Chicago

Phone: 312-808-1286

This historic blues shrine, where titans like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon Little Walter and Koko Taylor recorded their indelible music for the Chess label, kicks off its FREE outdoor summer garden concert series this week which runs from June through September. Shows are from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Thursday June 7: Lamont Harris (free)

Friday June 8: John Primer, 9-12 mid. Benefit for recording studio restoration. $25 cover.

Saturday June 9: Wayne Baker Brooks, 9-12 mid. Benefit for recording studio restoration. $25 cover.

Sunday June 10: Johnny Drummer, 3- 6 p.m. Benefit for Cash McCall to help with health expenses. $25.


Blues for Breakfast Benefit Concert/ In Memory of Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater

Sunday June 10: Blues for Breakfast Benefit with: The Eddy Clearwater Band, Oscar Wilson (Cash Box Kings), Andre Taylor, Wayne Baker Brooks, Joseph Mojo Morganfield, Kenny Kinsey, The Original Chicago Blues All-Stars and special guests. 8-11 a.m. at Motor Row Brewing, 2337 S. Michigan, Chicago. $20 cover, includes breakfast. Benefit for PCA Blue and The Hart Fund.


Blues & Roots Fest on Water Street

160 S. Water Street, Batavia, IL

June 9: Blues and Roots Fest in this quaint river town with sets by Anderlik, Otto & Church, Dave Specter, Beth Lee & The Breakups, Cash Box Kings, Devil in a Woodpile.

At Kiss The Sky and Water Street Studio complex. Doors 6 p.m. Music runs 7 p.m. – 11:30 pm.



Tuesday, June 12: Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street, hosts History Happy Hour starting at 6 p.m. with a live show by Mike Wheeler Band and The Cash Box Kings. Guided tours of the museum’s current blues exhibits will begin at 6:45 pm, and include: A City Guide to Chicago Blues, Amplified: Chicago Blues Flash Tour, and Research Center Unboxed: Chicago Blues Archives. Must be at least 21 to buy a $15 ticket, which includes two adult beverages, tours and museum admission. For info: click HERE


The Blues in Black & White, a photo exhibit of Chicago Blues in the ‘70s-‘80s by noted concert photographer Kirk West runs through June 28 at Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven/ Chess Studios at 2120 S. Michigan, Chicago. Open Tues-Sat, Noon-4 p.m. Phone: 312-808-1286.


The Maxwell Street Collection is a display of historical photos of the famous Chicago open air market and urban blues music birthplace. Photos by Tom Arnt, Patty Carroll, Ron Gordon, James Iska, Jack Jaffe, Kenneth Josephson, Nathan Lerner, Tom Palazzolo, Marc PoKempner, Bob Thall and Jay Wolke are courtesy of the Maxwell Street Foundation.  At the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, Chicago. Phone: 312-747-4300. Exhibit runs June 1-30.


The Blues Clubs


536 N. Clark (at Ohio), Chicago, IL

Phone: 312-661-0100

 This cozy River North club is very tourist friendly and provides a warm atmosphere with top female vocalists belting out good-time blues.

Thursday, June 7 – BTS Express w/ Shirley Johnson

Friday, Saturday June 8-9 – Sheryl Youngblood Blues Band

Sunday, June 10 – Chicago Wind Blues Band w/ Deitra Farr & Matt Skoller


2519 N. Halsted, Chicago

Phone: 773-528-1012

This famous little club, known as “Blues on Halsted,” on the North Side has a great atmosphere where the blues drips off the walls five days a week.

 Thursday June 7 – J.W. Williams & Chi-town Hustlers

June 8-9 – Jimmy Johnson w/ Rico McFarland

Sunday June 10 – Marty Sammon Blues Band


700 S. Wabash, Chicago

Phone: 312-427-1190

The music runs all day at this two-story world famous blues venue. This is always a nice option to catch blues either during or after the Blues Festival.  Tasty authentic Louisiana cuisine will keep your stomach happy, and the blues music will feed your soul. Cover charges don’t kick in until the evening shows, so enjoy the free music at lunch time and happy hour. Kids are welcome during the day.

Schedule subject to change.

Thurs., June 8 --    Noon: Eddie Taylor, Jr.

                               2-4:30: Seminar with Dr. Dan Ivankovich

6:30 pm: WXRT live broadcast w/ Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Baker Brooks Band, Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues FREE! (see above listing).

                               9:30 pm: Corey Dennison Band


Fri., June 8 – Noon: Fruteland Jackson

                     2:30: Erin Coburn

                     5:30: Cash Box Kings

                     8:30: Chicago Wind

                    10:30: Ronnie Baker Brooks w/ The Eddy Clearwater Band


Sat., June 9

Noon: Harmonica Hinds

2:30 - Lil Red and The Rooster 
5:30 - Matt Hendricks 
8:30 - Big James 
10:30 - Mr. Sipp


Sun., June 10

Noon - Matt Hendricks
2:30 - Dave Weld
5:30 - Smiley Tillmon w/ Kate Moss
8:30 - Diunna Greenleaf
10:30 - Toronzo Cannon



6615 Roosevelt Rd.

Berwyn, IL

Phone: 708-788-2118

 This iconic music venue in the near west suburbs features local and national acts in a rootsy, American music vein (pretty much everything but Top 40, rap and heavy metal).

 Tues. June 5: John Primer

Thurs. June 7: Shemekia Copeland

Sat. June 9: Lazer Lloyd



3701 S. Harlem Ave, Berwyn, IL

Phone: 708-484-3610

The cozy and casual west suburban Harlem Avenue Lounge has a very special lineup this weekend.

June 8: Howard & The White Boys

June 9: Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire



329 N. Dearborn (at Marina City), Chicago

Phone: 312-923-2000

The Crossroads Stage at HOB is on the ground floor of the Marina City multi-storied theater and offers dinner and a late night menu plus live blues acts and more, seven days a week. Sundays feature the venue’s famous gospel brunch in the upstairs concert hall.

Thursday June 7: Rollover w/ Louie Zagoras, Windy City Duo

Friday June 8: Corey Dennison Band, Keithen Banks

Saturday June 9: Vino Louden, Mike Wheeler

Sunday June 10: Gospel Brunch, Mike Wheeler, Sheryl Youngblood

Monday June 11: Joanna Connor, Rob Stone



2548 N. Halsted, Chicago

Phone: 773-477-4646

 Chicago’s longest running blues club, which just celebrated its 50th Anniversary, The Mines puts the “unk in funk.”  Two stages, so the music never stops, seven days a week. The club stays open ‘til 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturdays.

Thursday, June 7: Mike Wheeler Band, Big James Montgomery

Friday June 8: Larry McCray Band, Nora Jean Bruso, Studebaker John

Saturday June 9: Joanna Connor, TBA

Sunday June 10:  Linsey Alexander hosts 6 p.m. blues jam on south stage; later it’s Linsey Alexander Band and Claudette Miller Band on north stage.



2337 S. Michigan Ave. (by 24th St.)

Phone: 312-624-8149

Friendly, family owned micro brewery in the South Loop, behind McCormick Place and just down the street from historic Chess Studios.

 June 7: Chicago Queens of Rhythm & Blues: Tracee Adams, Ms. Trish, Mz. Reese, Mz. Joy, Brenda Taylor, Laretha Weathersby, Gail Redd & more.

June 8: Doc Payne & The Payne Relief Smooth Blues Band

June 9: Blues Kids Foundation Fundraiser w/ Fernando Jones & Friends. Pro Blues Jam at 12 mid.

June 10: Original Chicago Blues All-Stars

Also on June 10, Blues for Breakfast Benefit Concert: Oscar Wilson (Cash Box Kings), Andre Taylor, Wayne Baker Brooks, Joseph Mojo Morganfield, Kenny Kinsey, The Original Chicago Blues All-Stars and special guests. 8-11 a.m



Wed. June 6: Corey Dennison Band

June 8: Keesha Pratt Band

June 9: Omar Coleman, Katie Kaden



1516 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Phone: 773-252-1155

Nick’s is Wicker Park’s party central. Never a cover for excellent bands and a vast selection of beer. Need we say more?

Friday June 8: Johnny Drummer

Saturday June 9: Rockin’ Johnny



411 S. Wells, Chicago

Phone: 312-922-1778

June 5: Rockin’ Johnny

June 6: Smiley Tillmon Band w/ Kate Moss

June 7: Joe Astley Band



2105 S. State Street, Chicago

Phone: 312-949-0120

Thursday, June 7: Oscar Wilson & Joe Nosek (from Cash Box Kings), Eddie Taylor, Jr., Martin Lang, Willie Hayes, Mark Wydra, Rob Stone, Sam Lay.

 Sunday, June 10: Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Burns, Billy Flynn, Brother John Kattke, Bob Stroger, Dave Katzman, David Sims, Russ Huffer



315 N. LaSalle St., Chicago

Phone: 312-882-0100

Located on Chicago’s Riverwalk (that everyone is raving about) this hip, chef-run brew pub hosts a Blues and Brews Brunch each Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 3 p.m. featuring top Chicago artists. Occasionally after-work shows are held on weekdays.

June 9: Corey Dennison

June 10 – Smiley Tillmon



3420 W. Armitage, Chicago

Phone: 773-342-0452

Rosa’s is a longtime authentic blues bar, decorated from floor to ceiling with images of blues stars, in the western Logan Square area. Chicago’s “friendliest blues bar” has a stellar lineup for the long Blues Fest weekend:

Wed., June 6: Sugar Blue Unplugged

Thurs., June 7: Blues Jam w/ Lil’ Ed

Friday, June 8: Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

Saturday, June 9: Rico McFarland

Sunday, June 10: Will Jacobs Band


SMOKE DADDY (Wicker Park)

1804 W. Division, Chicago, IL

Phone: 773-772-6656

 Blues, BBQ and brews -- Smoke Daddy offers all three in spades. This Wicker Park bar and eatery smokes its own meats daily, while top live bands “smoke” onstage nightly.

 June 7: Rockin’ Johnny

June 8: Billy Flynn

June 9: Chicago Bound, Billy Flynn


SMOKE DADDY (Wrigleyville)

3636 N. Clark St. (in Zachary Hotel)


This is Smoke Daddy’s new sister location in Wrigleyville inside the Zachary Hotel, where Cubs fans hang out before and after the game.

 June 7: Gerry Hundt, Matt Skoller

June 8: Rob Stone & Sam Lay, Andrew Diehl & The Nightmen, Mojo 49

June 10: Dave Weld, Rockin’ Johnny



1245 Chicago Ave (at Dempster)

 Evanston, IL

Phone: 847-492-8860

 SPACE is the place to hear live music in the North Shore ‘burbs. Evanston is on Chicago’s north border, so it’s easy to get to by car or on the El. The sound system is top notch, with great sightlines, comfy nightclub seating and standing room in back.

Thursday June 7: Delmark 65th Anniversary show: Jimmy Johnson, Steve Freund, Dave Specter, Tad Robinson, Ken Saydak, Omar Coleman

Saturday June 9: Selwyn Birchwood

Monday June 11: Rick Holmstrom


1358 W. Taylor, Chicago

Phone: 312-455-8255

This newly opened blues bar, located in the University Village/ Little Italy part of town, is owned and operated by a couple of veterans from the blues music, restaurant and brewery business. You can expect to hear live blues by the best acts Chicago has to offer.

June 7: Dave Herrero

June 8: Lurrie Bell w/ Rick King on drums

June 9: Donald Kinsey

 June 10: Lil’ Ed


111 W. Kinzie, Chicago

Phone: 312-880-1511

This sleek, retro supper club features blues, jazz, R&B, funk and more.

June 8: Chess Records Tribute: Will Tilson Band, featuring Corky Siegel & Brother John Kattke

June 9: Vance Kelly

210 LIVE (formerly The Alley)

210 Greenbay Rd, Highwood

Phone: 847-433-0304

Once a 1950s era bowling alley, the building in this far Northshore ‘burb has been transformed into a snazzy restaurant and nightclub. 

June 9: Super Session w/ Lurrie Bell, Bob Stroger, Jimmy Burns, Tom Holland, Deitra Farr, Melvin Smith, Willie Hayes, Roosevelt Purifoy, Dave Katzman

June 10: Harmonica Summit w/ Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues, Joe Filisko & Eric Noden



Momo Mama Blue Chicago
Blue Chicago
536 N. Clark
Chicago, IL
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