January 28, 2014

Bettye Lavette, Aaron Neville and Dr. John among Headliners set to perform at the 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival

FREE admission festival celebrates “Blues by the Lake” June 13-15 in Grant Park

Mary May    312.744.0576 mmay@cityofchicago.org

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the headliners for the 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival set for June 13 through June 15 in Grant Park. A weekend of “Blues by the Lake” begins at the Petrillo Music Shell, with a Centennial Celebration of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson with opener the Carolina Chocolate Drops on Friday, June 13, Bettye LaVette on Saturday, June 14 and Aaron Neville and Dr. John on Sunday, June 15 with opener Nikki Hill.

The Chicago Blues Festival is FREE admission and open from 11am to 9:30pm daily. The Petrillo Music Shell will feature headliners at 6pm – 9:30pm on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14. The stage will run 5:30pm – 9:30pm on Sunday, June 15. A complete line-up and schedule for all stages, as well as preview events, will be released later this spring.

The special tribute and centennial celebration honoring John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson on Friday, June 13 at the Petrillo Music Shell will be performed by a group of musicians influenced by his harmonica “crossed-harp” style led by renowned harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, who played with “Sonny Boy.” Artists joining Arnold include the Seigal-Schwall Blues Band with bassist Rolo Radford and drummer Sam Lay, Marcella Detroit, among others.

Originating from Durham, North Carolina, the Carolina Chocolate Drops will open the Petrillo stage on Friday. The trio is deeply rooted in the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music which won them the Grammy® Award for best traditional folk album in 2010 for Genuine Negro Jig. The band will bring an emerging sound that has left a distinguished mark on present-day blues.

On Saturday, June 14 blues singer extraordinaire Bettye LaVette headlines the Petrillo stage. By the age of sixteen, American soul singer Bettye LaVette started her rise to fame with her first single “My Man, He’s a Loving Man,” which quickly created a national buzz. Throughout her more than 50-year career, LaVette has recorded multiple hit songs establishing her as one of the genre’s great vocalists. Opening artists will be announced at a later date.

Dr. John and Aaron Neville will close the Chicago Blues Festival on Sunday, June 15 with the sound of the “Big Easy.” Music legend Aaron Neville is back in the spotlight with the recent release of his new album, My True Story. Neville revisits the doo-wop music he grew up with and created throughout his incredible career as a solo artist – and his role in the first family of New Orleans, Louisiana, music: the Neville Brothers.

Since the 1970s, Malcolm John Rebennack has been known to boogie and blues enthusiasts as Dr. John. Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. John’s music is influenced by his southern roots resulting in the unconscious creation of his own brand of “voodoo” music, which made him a musical icon. On tour with Aaron Neville, Dr. John and Neville will perform part of the evening together.

Opening on Sunday evening is vocalist Nikki Hill. Hill and her band of enthused musicians known as the “Pirate Crew” are quickly claiming a large following. With husband Matt Hill as lead guitarist and Ed Strohsahl and Joe Meyer manning the rhythm section, Hills passion for roots and rock-n-roll shines through. Having been called the “Southern Fireball,” Hill will get festivalgoers up and out of their seats.

Leading up to the Chicago Blues Festival, May is “Blues Month” in Chicago featuring a number of preview performances at various Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations throughout the city. Blues music will also fill the halls of the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) during May on select Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon – and a Blues Festival preview on Daley Plaza is set for Monday, June 9. The full schedule of preview events will be announced later this spring.

The 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival is presented by the City of Chicago and produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events with the following sponsors: Aquafina, Bud Light, Communications Direct, LaGrou Distribution System, Louisiana Tourism, Pepsi, VISITJACKSON.COM and 93XRT.

For more information, please visit chicagobluesfestival.us. To plan your trip to Chicago for the Blues Festival this June 13-15, visit choosechicago.com. Join the conversation on Facebook (Chicago Blues Festival) and follow us on Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE (#ChiBluesFest).

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


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