January 30, 2012

Legendary Artist Mavis Staples To Headline 2012 Chicago Blues Fest

29th Annual Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park - June 8-10

A Celebration of Blues Past and Present

Grammy® winner, Mavis Staples headlines the 29th Annual Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park, June 8-10.  Celebrating the genre’s rich past and its promising future, the Chicago Blues Festival is three days of the finest blues music in the world. Other headliners include Texas Johnny Brown on June 8 and Floyd Taylor on June 9. Festival hours are 11:00am - 9:30pm each day.

Chicago’s own Mavis Staples is set to close the festival on Sunday, June 10. More than sixty years after she began singing with her ground-breaking family group, the Staple Singers, she is more popular than ever. In 2011, Mavis Staples won the Grammy for “Best Americana Album” for You Are Not Alone, which was produced by fellow Chicagoan, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Not only is Staples a living Gospel and Blues legend, but also, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient and Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. 

Last year the blues world experienced the loss of past performers and friends of the Chicago Blues Festival: David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. The Chicago Blues Festival offers tributes to these legendary performers by the genre’s present day talent.  Other artists being honored this year include:  a centennial celebration of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor and Howlin’ Wolf .

At the Petrillo Music Shell, on Friday, June 8, blues fans will be treated to a centennial celebration of Lightnin’ Hopkins.  A renowned Texas blues guitarist from Houston, Hopkins died in 1982. Fellow Houston bluesman Texas Johnny Brown headlines with his unique, soulful guitar sound. Texas natives, Reverend KM Williams, Milton Hopkins (Ligntnin’ Hopkins cousin) and Jewel Brown open the evening’s salute to an iconic artist.

Floyd Taylor headlines the Petrillo Music Shell on Saturday, June 9. Born in Chicago, Taylor is the son of Soul and R&B legend Johnnie Taylor. He spent many years learning from his father, shaping his talent as a “soul man” in his own right. With his father’s death in 2000, the torch was passed. Taylor pays tribute to his father and others with every note he sings to the delight of his many fans. 

Not to be forgotten, the Petrillo will open on Saturday with a special tribute to “Honeyboy” by Paul Kaye.  Kaye toured and performed with David “Honeyboy” Edwards up until his death in 2011. Edwards was the last of the Delta Bluesmen and the last direct link to Robert Johnston. Following the tribute to “Honeyboy”, is Muddy Waters Disciples; Pinetop Perkins, Willie Big Eyes Smith and Mojo Buford will be remembered on the Petrillo stage in a set featuring: Muddy Water’s son, Mud Morganfield; Willie Big Eyes Smith’s son, Kenny Smith; Bob Margolin, Barrelhouse Chuck, Lil Frank and Bob Stroger.

Women have their day on Sunday, June 10 with all female performers at the Petrillo Music Shell. 

Before Mavis Staples performs on Sunday, festival goers will be treated to a tribute to the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, who died in June of 2009. Koko will be remembered in a special performance on Sunday night by a select group of Blues women featuring Melvia “Chick” Rodgers, Jackie Scott, Deitra Farr and Nora Jean Brusco

A special Tribute to Hubert Sumlin on Saturday, June 9 at the Front Porch Stage will be a must see for blues fans. The set will feature Steady Rollin Bob Margolin, Eddie Shaw, Kenny Smith, Dave Spector, Johnny Iguana, Bob Stroger & Bob Corritore. In June of 2011, Honeyboy and Hubert Sumlin were scheduled to perform together at the Chicago Blues Festival during a tribute to Robert Johnson; they were both unable to perform due to health issues. Both died in 2011.  Sumlin was best known as the lead guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf and he inspired some of the great rock guitarists of the era:  Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.  

The full line up will be announced at a later date. The performance stages include the Petrillo Music Shell, the Bud Light Crossroads Stage, Mississippi Juke Joint, and the Pepsi Front

The 29th 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:  Bud-Light, Pepsi, Mississippi Development Authority and 93 XRT.  For more information please call 312.744.3316 or visit www.chicagobluesfestival.us for updates. Join the blues conversation on Facebook at the Chicago Blues Festival and follow us on Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE.




The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) presents large scale and small high-quality FREE festivals, exhibitions, performances, parades, sport events, farmers markets and holiday celebrations in venues throughout the city each year. DCASE is dedicated to promoting and celebrating the arts in Chicago as well as supporting the people who create and sustain them.

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