Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene
BEYOND THE BLUES FESTIVAL 2015
Where to find the After-Parties outside of Grant 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 Grant Park from June 12, 13 and 14.
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.
See you in Grant Park and all over town!
Chicago Blues Fest Preview Show: FREE!
June 8, Monday – Willie Dixon Tribute featuring Bobby Dixon & Special Guests
12 noon – 1 p.m. FREE at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, Chicago
IRON HEART CHICAGO
This free concert series, hosted by Old Town School of Folk Music, showcases world music and blues shows at CTA stations across Chicago. Catch blues great Jimmy Burns during your commute between 4 – 6 p.m. at the El stop on these days.
6/12: Brown Line/ Damen
6/14: Green Line/ Garfield
6/15: Blue Line/ Western
6/16: Red Line/ North & Clyborn
6/17: Red Line/ Sox Park at 35th
Blues Fest Kickoff Event at Buddy Guy’s
JUNE 11, 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 11, the Thursday before Chicago Blues Fest. There will be performances by Otis Clay, Jimmy Johnson, Shemekia Copeland & The Dave Specter Band. The annual show, which is in its 18th year, will be emceed by DJ Tom Marker and Shemekia Copeland. The event is from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Get there early!
Delmark’s Annual Blues Brunch at the Jazz Record Mart : FREE!
27 E. Illinois (at Wabash), Chicago, IL
Phone: 312- 222-1467
Sunday, June 14
10 a.m. - Noon
Delmark Records’ annual Blues Brunch at the Mart is always FREE to early risers. This year don’t miss Rockin’ Johnny, Toronzo Cannon, Mississippi Heat, Linsey Alexander, Dave Specter, Omar Coleman, Mike Wheeler, the Delmark All-Stars and more. Free refreshments.
2120 S. Michigan, Chicago
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.
Thursday June 11: Lamont Harris
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isit the website for updates
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The Blues Clubs
536 N. Clark (at Ohio), Chicago, IL
This cozy River North club is very tourist friendly and provides a warm atmosphere with female vocalists belting out good-time blues.
Thursday, June 11 – Maurice John Vaughn Band w/ Shirley Johnson
Friday, Saturday June 12 - 13 – John Primer Band w/ Shirley Johnson
Sunday, June 14 – J. W. Williams & the Chi-town Hustlers w/ Demetria Taylor
2519 N. Halsted, Chicago
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 11– Jimmy Burns Band
Friday June 12 – Jimmy Johnson Blues Band w/ Rico McFarland
Saturday June 13 – Toronzo Cannon & The Cannonball Express
Sunday June 14 – Marty Sammon Band
700 S. Wabash,
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. This year, the club’s namesake is headlining the fest, so you are likely to see Buddy hanging out here this weekend. Cover charges don’t kick in until the evening shows, so enjoy the free music. Kids are welcome during the day.
Thurs., June 11
Noon: Eddie Taylor, Jr.
2 pm: Blues Today
6 pm: WXRT live broadcast (see above)
9:30 pm: John Primer
Fri., June 12
Noon: Fruteland Jackson
2:30 pm: Austin “Walkin’” Cane
4:30 pm: Sheryl Youngblood
8:30 pm: Linsey Alexander
10:30 pm: Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater
Sat., June 13
11 am: Anthony Moser
12:30 pm: Dave Weld
2:30 pm: Billy Flynn
4:30 pm: Nu Blu Band
6:30 pm: Matthew Skoller
8:30 pm: Cash McCall
10:30 pm: Booker T. Jones
Sun., June 14
11am: Nicholas Barron
1 pm: Chris Antonik
3 pm: Smiley Tillmon Band w/ Kate Moss
5 pm: Guy King
7 pm: Mike Wheeler
9:30 pm: Billy Branch and Sons of the Blues
1200 W. Randolph, Chicago
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.
Tuesday June 16 – Help Rebuild Nepal Benefit with Lynne Jordan, Wayne Baker Brooks, Rick King’s Royal Hustle,The Empty Pockets.
The cozy and casual west suburban Harlem Avenue Lounge has very special lineup this weekend.
Saturday June 13 – Omar Coleman Band
329 N. Dearborn
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 11: Studebaker John, Vino Louden
Friday June 12: Chicago Blues All-Stars, Chicago Slim & Friends
Saturday June 13: Blue Olives, Windy City Duo
Sunday June 14: Gospel Brunch, Nick Moss Band
2548 N. Halsted, Chicago
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.
Friday June 12: Billy Branch, Eddie Shaw, Mike Wheeler
Saturday June 13: Carl Weathersby, Vance Kelly
Sunday June 14: Linsey Alexander hosts blues jam on south stage, with Claudette Miller on north stage.
2607 W. 17TH Street, Chicago
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.
Friday June 12: Smiley Tillmon
Saturday June 13: Carlos Johnson
Sunday June 14: Jimmy Johnson
1516 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
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 12: Brian Carpy & The Standbys
Saturday June 13: Dave Herrero
REGGIE’S MUSIC JOINT & REGGIE’S ROCK CLUB (2 in 1 venue)
Saturday, June 13: Muddy Waters Tribute with Mud Morganfield (Muddy’s son), Rockin’ Johnny Band w/ Rick Kreher & Bob Margolin (from Muddy’s band), Bob Corritore and Nico Wayne Toussaint (blues harp player from France). The event will include an international blues jam to close the evening.
Sunday, June 14: Super Session with Jimmy Johnson, Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger, Marty Binder, Dave Katzman, Brother John Kattke & special guests.
3420 W. Armitage, Chicago
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 12: Jimmy Burns, Jamiah “On Fire” & the Red Machine
Saturday, June 13: Sugar Blue Band
Sunday, June 14: Omar Coleman Delmark Records CD release party
1804 W. Division, Chicago, IL
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 11 – Cash Box Kings
June 12 -- Billy Flynn & Friends
June 13 – Billy Flynn & Friends, Matt Hendricks (afternoon show)
1245 Chicago Ave (at Dempster)
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.
Wednesday, June 10: Dave Specter’s Adventures in Guitar w/ Jimmy Johnson & Will Tilson
Friday, June 12: Janiva Magness, Doug MacLeod
Saturday, June 13: Jarekus Singleton, Jimmy Burns