Chicago Blues Festival returns for 2022 with plenty of great music in tow

The Chicago Blues Festival kicked off Friday at Millennium Park — and for the first time at select neighborhood locations.

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Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during the Chicago Blues Festival on Friday night.

Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during the Chicago Blues Festival on Friday night.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Chicago Blues Festival is underway at Millennium Park, and for the first time at select neighborhood locations. And you can take in all of the sights and sounds for free through Sunday night.

The music continues Saturday at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and two additional stages in Millennium Park, in Bronzeville at Lillian Hardin Armstrong Park (4433 S. St. Lawrence Ave.) and in Austin (5720 W. Chicago Ave.).

The Saturday lineup at Millennium Park includes Melody Angel, Keith Johnson & The Big Muddy Band, Cedric Burnside, and Ronnie Baker Brooks, among many others.

The Sunday lineup at the Pritzker Pavilion boasts Lurie Bell, The Kinsey Report, and Eric Gales, among others. Also new this year is a “Women in Blues” showcase at 3 p.m. Sunday featuring a tribute to blues great Mary Lane.

On both days, catch a showcase (starting at noon) of Chicago artists that have played the iconic Rosa’s Lounge over the past 38 years, at the Chase Promenade South in Millennium Park.

For the complete schedule of entertainers at Millennium Park for Saturday and Sunday, visit chicago.gov.

The Saturday lineup of neighborhood concert artists in the Austin neighborhood (starting at noon) includes Tail Dragger, Demetria Taylor, and Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, among others. On Sunday at the Bronzeville location (starting at noon) you can catch sets by Freddie Dixon’s Chicago Blues Allstars, and Joe Barr and the Platinum Band, among others. The full schedule of neighborhood concerts can be found here.

Chicago Sun-Times photographer Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere captured some of the moments from Friday night’s lineup at Millennium Park (below), which featured The Mike Wheeler Band and Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues, among others.

Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday night at the Chicago Blues Festival.|

Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday night at the Chicago Blues Festival.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday night.|

The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday night.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Attendees applaud as The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during Chicago’s Blues Festival on Friday night.|

Attendees applaud as The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during Chicago’s Blues Festival on Friday night.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Pamela Guajardo-Lagos and William Nichols dance to the music of The Mike Wheeler Band at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday night.|

Pamela Guajardo-Lagos and William Nichols dance to the music of The Mike Wheeler Band at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday night.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during Chicago’s Blues Festival.|

The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during Chicago’s Blues Festival.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Time

Blues fans take in a set by The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.|

Blues fans take in a set by The Mike Wheeler Band performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Kira Tucker and Tony Eskridge dance during a set by Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during the Chicago Blues Festival on Friday night in Millennium Park.|

Kira Tucker and Tony Eskridge dance during a set by Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion during the Chicago Blues Festival on Friday night in Millennium Park.|

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Time

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