Home International Blues Fest 2024 is this weekend: Your guide from headliner Buddy Guy...

Blues Fest 2024 is this weekend: Your guide from headliner Buddy Guy to the after-parties

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In what’s being billed as one of his final Chicago performances, Buddy Guy will headline the Chicago Blues Festival this weekend, running June 6-9. Guy, who at 87 is on his Damn Right Farewell tour, will cap off a free weekend featuring some 250 musicians across four nights and two venues. 

Opening night performances at Bridgeport’s Ramova Theatre are already sold out, but the blues will echo throughout the rest of the weekend from three stages in Millennium Park. Southern Avenue will headline Saturday night, and tributes to Jimmy Rogers, Dinah Washington and Otis Spann will feature jam sessions with nearly two dozen artists. 

The full lineup follows below for stages in Millennium Park, which is marking its 20th anniversary season. The Blues Festival has become a cornerstone of the park’s free summer series. 

IF YOU GO

When: Noon to 9 p.m. June 7-9

Where: Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St. Admission is free. Enter off of Michigan Avenue at Washington or Madison streets, or from Randolph and Monroe streets at the McCormick Place walkway midway up the block. (The BP Bridge from Maggie Daley Park is exit-only during events and the Nichols Bridgeway from the Art Institute is closed.)

Safety and security: The festival will be held rain or shine except in the case of severe weather. Allow time to pass through security. Bags and containers are subject to search and the area is under 24-hour surveillance. Prohibited items include weapons, drugs, fireworks, pets (service animals permitted), open flames, noisemakers, and bags and coolers larger than 26 inches long by 15 inches wide by 15 inches tall. Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult (age 21+) after 6 p.m. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Food and drink: Wally’s BBQ Pit, in the North Promenade, will offer a full menu of food and drink, including beer, wine and cocktails. Festival-goers can pack their own picnic, but no outside alcohol is permitted. 

Restrooms: The West Arcade and East Arcade restrooms on the lower level of the Pritzker Pavilion are open during park hours and have wheelchair accessible stalls. A small number of accessible restrooms are also located in the McCormick Tribune Plaza adjacent to Millennium Hall on Michigan Avenue.

More information: ChicagoBluesFestival.us. Follow on Facebook (@ChicagoBluesFestival), Instagram (@ChicagoDCASE), (@Millennium_Park); or X/Twitter (@Millennium_Park) or (@ChicagoDCASE).

SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, JUNE 6

6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Shemekia Copeland and Ronnie Baker Brooks at Ramova Theatre, 3520 S. Halsted St. in Bridgeport; free reservations are sold out (ages 18+), ramovachicago.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7

Jay Pritzker Pavilion
7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Centennial Tribute to Jimmy Rogers featuring Kim Wilson, Jimmy D. Lane, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Bob Margolin, Sebastian Lane, Felton Crews and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mr. Sipp
5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Corey Harris

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (South Promenade)
4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Big A & The Allstars
3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. J’Cenae
1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Keith Johnson & The Big Muddy Band
Noon to 1:15 p.m. Nora Jean Wallace

Rosa’s Lounge (North Promenade)
6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Last Call with WDCB Radio and Carlos Johnson
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Sheryl Youngblood
3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Luke Pytel Band, featuring Laretha Weathersby
2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Ivy Ford
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Lil’ Jimmy Reed with Ben Levin

SATURDAY, JUNE 8

Jay Pritzker Pavilion
7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Southern Avenue
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Vanessa Collier
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Centennial Tribute to Dinah Washington, featuring Dee Alexander, Elizabeth Faye Butler, Kristin Atkins, Bruce Henry, Miguel de la Cerna, Jeremiah Hunt, Charles Heath IV and Melody Angel

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (South Promenade)
4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Dexter Allen
3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Ra’Shad the Blues Kid
1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Melvin Taylor
Noon to 1:15 p.m. Mzz Reese and Reese’s Pieces

Rosa’s Lounge (North Promenade)
6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Last Call with WDCB Radio and Ivan Singh
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. The Mike Wheeler Band
3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Jamiah “Dirty Deacon” Rogers and the Dirty Church Band
2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Vino Louden
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Al Spears & The Hurricane Project

SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Jay Pritzker Pavilion
7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Buddy Guy
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cash Box Kings
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Centennial Tribute to Otis Spann, featuring Johnny Iguana, Roosevelt Purifoy, Rie “Miss Lee” Kanehira, Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi, Oscar Wilson, Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (South Promenade)
4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Jaye Hammer
3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Anissa Hampton
1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Jonathan Ellison & The RAS Blues Band
Noon to 1:15 p.m. Southern Komfort Brass Band

Rosa’s Lounge (North Promenade)
6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Last Call with WDCB Radio and The Stephen Hull Experience
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Melody Angel
3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Omar Coleman Westside Soul
2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Joey J. Saye Trio
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Nate Manos Band with Alicia “Ya Yah” Townsend

Memphis-based roots, blues and soul band Southern Avenue, signed to Alligator Records, is the Saturday headliners at the 2024 Chicago Blues Fest. (Paul Citone)

AFTER-PARTIES AND MORE BLUES

Consult the venues for hours and ticket information.

June 7

10th annual Blues Fest AfterParty at Reggies Chicago, 2105 S. State St.; www.reggieslive.com

Lil’ Jimmy Reed with Ben Levin Band at Rosa’s Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage Ave.; rosaslounge-com.seatengine.com

June 8

Hot Blues Night at Chess Records Studio with Nick Moss Trio and guest Ben Levin, 2120 S. Michigan Ave.; www.bluesheaven.com

June 9

Joe Pratt & Source One Band at The Odyssey East, 9942 S. Torrence Ave.; 773-978-6520 and facebook.com/joeprattsourceone

Little Harvey and Chi-Town Blues at Rooster’s Palace, 5748 W. North Ave.; facebook.com/p/Roosters-Palace-Music-House

Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds performs in Nashville, Tennessee in 2014. Wilson is contributing to a Centennial Tribute to Jimmy Rogers at the 2024 Chicago Blues Fest. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds performs in Nashville, Tennessee in 2014. Wilson is contributing to a Centennial Tribute to Jimmy Rogers at the 2024 Chicago Blues Fest. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

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