Chicago Underground Blues Experience

Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival takes place Friday through Sunday from 11:30am till 9:30pm. Lydia's List, below, is an essential guide to great bands playing the fest. Lydia is essentially our live music curator here in Chicago. We're lucky to have someone who is so tapped into the live music scene. Every year she listens to all the bands and figures out who is danceable, or just worth experiencing. So, if you want to know where to find us during the fest, this is your guide. (All links open in a new window. mouse over names for details about the artists.)


11:30-1:00 - Front Porch
Blues in the Schools featuring Eric Noden, Katherine Davis, and the Stone Academy Blues Students

1:30-2:30 - Front porch
Henry Gray & Andy Cornett

2:30-3:00 - Mississippi Juke Joint
Sam Lay

3:00-4:30 - Front Porch
Jimmy Dawkins w/ Taildragger

4:30-5:00 - Stand in line for hand-stamp for Petrillo (which is how you'll get in later!) eat, and if there's time you might want to listen to Wildsang at Route 66 Roadhouse

Petrillo Music Shell (the main stage – you'll want to line up for a hand-stamp for this!)

Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang, Jody Williams, Sam Lay, Henry Gray, Abb Locke, Corky Siegel, Hubert Sumlin. This set is all musicians who played with Howlin' Wolf. These are all well known blues musicians, many are considered blues legends.

Otis Taylor Band *Note: Otis Taylor is well known, his music is great but very mellow (“trance blues”). If this becomes too mellow, Big George Brock at the Front Porch at 6:30 will also be amazing.

James Cotton & Matt "Guitar" Murphy

Zora Young

Grab a bite, and head to After-hours!


11:00 Blues Brunch at Buddy Guy's Legends, with Jimmy Burns ($15 for music and food) -700 S. Wabash Avenue

1:00-1:45 - Front Porch
Bobby Dixon Blues Band *Note: we are leaving early to go to the next show

1:45-3:00 - Gibson Guitar Crossroads
Sugar Blue Band *Note: If this turns out to not be great, we will move to Mississippi Juke Joint for Honeyboy Edwards

2:45-4:00 - Front Porch
Nora Jean Bruso
youtube video of "I'm a Woman"

4:00-5:00ish Time to stand in line for hand-stamp, and when you have done that, you can check out Sonny Rhodes at Gibson Guitar Crossroads or Andre Williams at Front Porch (or both!)

Petrillo Music Shell (the main stage)

Nellie "Tiger" Travis *Note: this may be more soul-blues than straight blues, so you may want to linger at other stages during this time.

Bobby Parker and the Blues Night Band

Chicago Blues, A Living History, featuring Billy Boy Arnold, Billy Branch, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Carlos Johnson (and Matthew Skoller)

Grab a bite, and head to After-hours!


10:00 -12:00
Blues Brunch at the Jazz Record Mart (25 E. Illinois) with Mississippi Heat, Quintus McCormick, John Primer (FREE FOOD AND MUSIC!)

12:00-12:30 - Front Porch
Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir *Note: We'll leave early to see the next show

12:30-1:30 - Mississippi Juke Joint
Jimmy Duck Holmes & Terry "Harmonica" Bean

1:30-3:00 - Front Porch
Dancin' Perkins *Note: If we get tired of him, we can go to Mississippi Juke Joint For Bobby Rush at 2 pm.

3:30-4:30 - Mississippi Juke Joint
Homemade Jamz

4:30-5:00 Line up at Petrillo to get your hand-stamp!

Petrillo Music Shell (main stage)

Erwin Helfer's Chicago Boogie Woogie Ensemble

Vivian and Vance "guitar" Kelly & the Backstreet Blues Band

Chicago Blues Reunion, featuring Barry Goldberg, Corky Siegel, Nick Gravenites, Harvery Mandel, Charlie Musselwhite, and Sam Lay

T.K. Soul

Grab a bite, and head to After-hours!