The 34th Chicago Blues Festival is happening this weekend, June 9-11, 2017, at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. The great Chicago Blues Festival is a huge event that is free to attend. There will be various stages of entertainment, and food and beverages will be available for purchase at concession stands. The headlining acts include William Bell, Gary Clark Jr., Rhiannon Giddens and Celebrating 40 Years: Billy Branch & The Son of Blues with special guests.
There will be several stages of entertainment, including the Southwest Airlines Blues Lounge, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Budweiser Crossroads Stage on the South Promenade, the Mississippi Juke Joint on the North Promenade and the Front Porch Stage at the Harris Theater Rooftop.
Headlining acts at the Jay Prizker Pavilion on June 9 include Celebrating 40 Years: Billy Branch & The Son of Blues with special guests, Lurrie Bell, Freddie Dixon, J.W.S. Williams, Carlos Johnson, Carl Weathersby, Bill McFarland, Chicago Fire Horns and Mae Koen & The Light at 7:20-9:20 p.m.
The lineup at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on June 10 includes William Bell at 8:15-9:30 p.m., Theo Huff and the New Agenda Band at 6:30-7:45 p.m. and Nellie Tiger Travis at 5-6 p.m.
Headlining acts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on June 11 include Gary Clark Jr. at 7:40-9:30 p.m., Rhiannon Giddens at 6:20-7:20 p.m. and Ronnie Baker Brooks from 5-6 p.m.
William Bell, 77, is one of the great ‘60s soul men. Many of his contemporaries such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam Cooke have died, which is one reason Bell should be on your “must see” list, according to Steve Knopper of the Chicago Tribune. The “Don’t Miss Your Water” singer still has a crystal-clear voice with a touch of melancholy. The singer received his first Grammy Award in 2017 for Best American Album for This Is Where I Live. Bell will headline the closing show at Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday night.
Gary Clark Jr. is another “must see” act this year. At the age of 33, Clark’s guitar-playing skills are so impressive that he has been chosen to pay tribute to Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival 50. Clark also won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for "Please Come Home," and William Bell and Gary Clark Jr. performed “Born Under A Bad Sign” at the 59th Grammy Awards.
Rhiannon Giddens is a classically trained singer who grew up playing folk music. Giddens received two Grammy nominations in 2017, including the Best Roots Album for Factory Girl and Best American Roots Performance for “Factory Girl.” She won the Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro in 2011.