Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene

radio shows
record labels
Live Shows
Windy City Blues ad
Art Weddings:
affordable vintage dresses & accessories
No more bad luck ladder blues

FEATURE: Beyond The Blues Fest 2016
Blues on the Fox 2016
Benny Turner banner
GLT blues radio


Where to find the After-Parties outside Grant Park

chicago women in blues
Friday, June 10: Chicago Women in the Blues Festival at Reggie's, Chicago (see below for info)

photo: Airshots Photography

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 Grant Park from June 10, 11 and 12.

 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 area blues clubs, see our club directory in The Guide section.

To see the Chicago Blues Fest schedule, click HERE.

Be sure to check for updates on our website:


See you in Grant Park and all over town!

 Chicago Blues Fest Preview Shows: FREE!

June 6, Monday – Theo Huff

12 noon – 1 p.m. FREE at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago


June 7, TuesdayMavis!

Documentary film on Mavis Staples & The Staple Singers

6:30 p.m. FREE at Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph, Chgo.



June 8: Women of the Blues: Coast to Coast Collection, photo exhibition with 60 blues women portraits by 13 photographers. Blues Fest kickoff event, 7-10 pm at Firecat Gallery, Chicago. Ends June 18.


Blues Fest Kickoff Event at Buddy Guy’s

JUNE 9, 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 9, the Thursday before Chicago Blues Fest. There will be performances by Shemekia Copeland & Toronzo Cannon w/ special guest Buddy Guy. The annual show, which is in its 19th year, will be emceed by DJ Tom Marker. The FREE event is from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Get there early!


Live Broadcast at Piano Forte

June 9: Free concert by Marty Sammon (Buddy Guy’s pianist) at Piano Forte, 1335  S. Michigan Ave. at 12:15 p.m. The show will be broadcast live by WDCB (90.9 / 90.7 FM) and hosted by Leslie Keros.


UPDATE: Delmark’s Annual Blues Brunch at the Jazz Record Mart


4121 N. Rockwell St.

Chicago, IL

Phone: 773-539-5001 

There will be no Blues Brunch this year.

The vaunted Jazz Record Mart on 27 E. Illinois, home of the annual Delmark Records Blues Brunch, is now closed. Due to never-ending rent increases, shop owners Bob & Sue Koester, founders of Delmark Records, sold their inventory to the owners of Wolfgang’s Vault, an online music store. The world famous JRM’s doors closed in February. Happily, the Koesters opened a much smaller music mart in the same building that houses Delmark Records and Riverside Recording studios (see address above).


Blues Heaven Foundation/Chess Records

2120 S. Michigan, Chicago

Phone: 312-808-1286

This historic blues shrine kicks off its FREE outdoor summer garden concert series this week which runs from June through August. Shows are from 6-7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Saturday June 11: Lamont Harris


Blues on Water Street

Water Street, Batavia, IL

June 11: Blues and art fest in this quaint river town with Toronzo Cannon, Andrew Diehl, Edward David Anderson.


The Blues Clubs


2683 N. Halsted, Chicago

Phone: 773-348-9800

June 9: Frank Bang & The Cook County Kings. FREE at 9 p.m.



11 E. Hubbard, Chicago

Phone: 312-642-6805

June 10 -11: Guy King's Little Big Band



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 9 – Maurice John Vaughn Band w/ Shirley Johnson

Friday, Saturday June 10 - 11 – Nellie “Tiger” Travis

Sunday, June 12 – Nellie “Tiger” Travis



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 seven days a week.

Thursday June 9 – Pistol Pete

Friday June 10 – Vance Kelly

Saturday June 11 – Jimmy Johnson w/ Max V, Jay Red Bass, Big Ray

Sunday June 12 – Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials



700 S. Wabash, Chicago

Phone: 312-427-1190

The music runs all day at this two-story world famous blues venue.  A short walk from Grant Park, 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. Kids are welcome during the day.

Schedule subject to change.

Thurs., June 9 --    Noon: Eddie Taylor, Jr.

                               2 pm: Blues Today Symposium

6 – 7:30 pm: WXRT live broadcast w/ Shemekia Copeland, Toronzo Cannon & Buddy Guy (see above)    

                               8 pm: Marty Sammon

                               9:30 pm: Mike Wheeler Band


Fri., June 10– 11 am: Low-reen & The Maxwell Street Blues Band

                    1 pm: Tweed Funk

                    3 pm: Breezy Rodio

                     5 pm: Harry Hmura

                     7 pm: Guy King

9 pm: Ronnie Hicks

                    10:30 pm: Larry McCray


Sat., June 11 – 11 am: Anthony Moser

                    1 pm: JB Ritchie

                     3 pm: Nu Blu Band

                    5 pm: Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames

                     7 pm: Smiley Tillmon w/ Kate Moss

                     9 pm: Joe Moss

                     11 pm: Chris Cain


Sun., June 12 – 11 am: Nicholas Barron

1 pm: Jazmin Sky

                     3 pm: Jamiah Rogers

                     5 pm: Vino Louden

                     7 pm: Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

                     8:30 pm: Corey Dennison

                     10:30 pm: John Primer



1200 W. Randolph, Chicago

Phone: 312-733-WINE

The City Winery in the West Loop is an impressive place to hear live music (both local and national acts), wine and dine. Wine casks and corks decorate the 300 plus seat performance space, which is surrounded by rooms where wine is made and stored.

June 10:  The Weight (former members of The Band, Bonnie Raitt & Levon Helm’s bands). Two shows: 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm.



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 rap and heavy metal).

 June 7: Lurrie Bell

June 8: James Harman birthday bash w/ Nick Moss & Dennis Gruenling

June 9: The Blasters, Chicago Blues Angels

June 11: Otis Clay Tribute: JC Brooks & The Right Now w/ special guests



3701 S. Harlem Ave, Berwyn, IL

Phone: 708-484-3610

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

 Friday June 10 – Mike Wheeler Band

Saturday June 11 – Pistol Pete Band



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 9: Eric Noden, John Primer

Friday June 10:  Corey Dennison, Vino Louden

Saturday June 11: Windy City Duo, Mike Wheeler

Sunday June 12: Gospel Brunch, Keithen Banks, Rob Stone



2548 N. Halsted, Chicago

Phone: 773-477-4646

Chicago’s longest running blues club, 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 9: Chicago Blues Allstars, Joanna Connor

Friday June 10: Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues, Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang, Joanna Connor

Saturday June 11: Billy Branch & Sons of the Blues, Joanna Connor and TBA

Sunday June 12:  Brian BJ Jones hosts blues jam on south stage, Linsey Alexander Band, Claudette Miller Band on north stage.



2607 W. 17TH Street, Chicago

Phone: 773-522-2097

This California craft beer brewery opened its second branch here recently and features early sets of live music 5 days a week, starting at 4:20 p.m.  Great beer (with wacky names) and food are served here.

Thursday June 9: Jimmy Burns

Friday June 10: Carlos Johnson

Saturday June 11: Sugar Blue



June 9: Nicholas Baron, Sheryl Youngblood & Say Yes,

June 10: Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames, Tinsley Ellis, Morry Sochat & Special 20s

June 11: Hank Mowrey & the Hawktones w/ Nick Moss & Dennis Gruenling, Omar Coleman



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 10: Chicago Bound

Saturday June 11: Jimmy Burns



2105 S. State Street, Chicago

Phone: 312-949-0120

Thursday, June 9: Keith Scott, 5 pm

 Friday, June 10: Annual Chicago Women in the Blues Festival with Holle Thee Maxwell, Liz Mandeville, Ivy Ford, Peaches Staten, Shirley King, The Countess (Williams), Mz. Peaches, Tracee Adams, Donna Herula, Ramblin’ Rose, Dia Madden, Ellen Miller, TK Tequila Kid, with special guest violinist Anne Harris. Hosted by Joan & Gary Gand and the Gand Band w/ drummer Tony Dale and harp player Blake Wollerman.  Doors: 7 p.m.  $25-30 for advance reserved seats. $20 combo ticket for both shows for general admission. (see below)


Super Session with Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Burns, Lurrie Bell, Bob Stroger, Brother John Kattke, Dave Katzman, David Sims, Melvin Smith & special guests. Doors: 7 pm

$15 or $20 for a combo ticket.


Note: Each show is in a separate room.

Purchase advance tix HERE (highly recommended as this show sells out).

Saturday, June 11: Lazy Lester, Eddie Taylor, Jr., Rockin Johnny Band & guests


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.

June 11 – Smiley Tillmon

June 12 – Rodney Brown



3420 W. Armitage, Chicago

Phone: 773-342-0452

Rosa’s is a great place in the western Logan Square area to hear the blues.  Chicago’s “friendliest blues bar” has a stellar lineup for the fest weekend:

 Friday, June 10: Carl Weathersby

Saturday, June 11: Carl Weathersby

Sunday, June 12: Mighty Mo Rodgers



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 9 – Smiley Tillmon

June 10 -- Billy Flynn & Friends

June 11 – Billy Flynn & Friends (night), Matt Hendricks (afternoon show)

June 12 – Nigel Mack


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.

Monday, June 6: Sugar Blue

Thursday, June 9: Delmark Records Blues Bash w/ Dave Specter, Jimmy Johnson, Demetria Taylor, Corey Dennison, Omar Coleman

Friday, June 10: Toronzo Cannon & Curtis Salgado



1503 W. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Phone: 312-588-0230

June 11: Nick Moss Band w/ Dennis Gruenling, 8 pm show.




Momo Mama Blue Chicago
Blue Chicago
536 N. Clark
Chicago, IL
Delmark Blues Bash at SPACE
Dave Specter, Jimmy Johnson, Demetria Taylor, Corey Dennison, Omar Coleman at SPACE
Get the party started!
Grana Louise flip photo
Book a blues band & more with Cain's Music Connection
Jukin' Jenn radio ad
Hambone Logo
Hambone's Blues Party on WDCB 90.9 FM
Lose those "clean the gutters" blues
Leaf Filter
College students: use free writing tips to improve your papers. Your free online writing tutor


rambler.jpg lynnejordan.jpgLynne Jordan