top of page

HOT SHOWS - Beyond the Blues Fest 2024: Here's our roundup of blues all over town outside of Millennium Park

Sheryl Youngblood , Melody Angel & more appear at Red Hot & Blues Women revue at the Harris Theater on June 5


We’ve been waiting patiently all year for the warm weather that finally has arrived and now it’s onto the biggest free blues festival in the world! The Chicago Blues Festival  takes place in Millennium Park from June 7,8,9. The opening kickoff concert with Shemekia Copeland and Ronnie Baker Brooks on June 6 at the Ramova Theater offered free tickets online. The show is now sold out. Buddy Guy headlines the final night on his Farewell Tour.

 Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The blues clubs haven’t even begun to heat up when the fest closes for the night. There are events before, during, and after the fest all over town. 

Here are some suggestions for places to go hear live blues “Beyond the Blues Fest.”  (Scroll down for story.) 

For a complete list of Chicago area blues clubs, see our club directory in The Guide section.

To see the Chicago Blues Fest schedule, click HERE.

 Be sure to check for updates on our website.

See you in Millennium Park and all over town!


Supersession: Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn, Omar Coleman, Oscar Wilson at Hey Nonny

JUNE 1, Saturday –

Real Deal Chicago Blues comes to the ‘burbs at Hey Nonny in Arlington Hts. with Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn, Oscar Wilson, Omar Coleman, Roosevelt Purifoy, Patrick Seals, Mike Scharf, Amy Lowe and Dave Katzman. Hey Nonny is the premiere listening room for great live music in the NW burbs, where you can also enjoy indoor or outdoor dining.

For tickets click HERE

Sunday Stories with Lynne Jordan & Friends at Davenport’s

JUNE 2, Sunday –

It’s storytelling time, with a bluesy twist, as Lynne Jordan & Friends take the stage at Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret, 1383 N. Milwaukee, Chicago at 7 pm. And look at who will be joining Lynne to share their spellbinding narratives: Acclaimed classical and blues musician Corky Siegel,  Alligator recording artist, blues sensation and former CTA bus driver Toronzo Cannon and Nestor Gomez, “The Moth” multi-winner and author. Needless to say all four of them have some big stories to tell!


Red Hot & Blues Women at the Harris Theater

JUNE 5, Wednesday -- 

Red Hot & Blues Women starring: Sheryl Youngblood, Joanna Connor, Melody Angel, Demetria Taylor, Carlise Guy, Sharon Lewis and Sherri Weathersby with emcee Lynne Jordan.


Feel the feminine power of the blues when eight saucy  Red Hot Blues Women take the stage at the Harris Theater (northeast end of Millennium Park), which will be transformed into the legendary nightclub Blue Chicago on June 5, to kick off Chicago Blues Fest week! Chicago Blues Guide is a proud sponsor.

 Get your tickets now: USE THIS TICKET PRE-SALE LINK for $5 off for any tickets except VIP. TICKETS HERE


There will be a VIP reception with the artists before the concert, hosted by the Recording Academy, with photo opportunities and a celebratory toast. A special blues women photo exhibit and videos will also be on display.

Showtime: 7:30 p.m.


Women in Blues is made possible through the Harris Theater Creative Future Fund

in partnership with Delmark Records, Blue Chicago, Chicago Blues Guide and more.


Big Llou’s Blues Fest Kickoff Event at Buddy Guy’s

JUNE 5, Wednesday –

Big Llou’s Chicago Blues Fest Kickoff Party FunRaiser will feature the voice of B.B. King’s Bluesville and BMA winner Big Llou Johnson who will emcee this special show to raise funds for the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, which is headed by Tomiko Dixon (granddaughter of blues icon Willie Dixon).

Performers include: Toronzo Cannon, Mud Morganfield, Rick King’s Royal Hustle, Carlos Johnson, Russ Green, Donna Herula, Anne Harris, Nick Alexander, Jamiah Rogers & Special Guests!

Tickets: G/A seat $30 at

The event is from 9 p.m. – close. Get there early!


Stefan Hillesheim Live CD Recording at Rosa’s

JUNE 5, Wednesday –

Stefan Hillesheim’s live CD recording at Rosa’s Lounge. Known for his sizzling Elmore James-influenced slide guitar and electrifying performances, Hillesheim is a triple threat guitarist, singer/songwriter and his shows often include special guests. His live album recording show promises to be an exciting night of blues power with two shows at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Even though this transplant from Germany has only been in Chicago for two years, Hillesheim is already a rising star who is making a big impression and attracting attention on the blues scene, both here and in Europe. And for good reason; Hillesheim knows how to use his prodigious talents to uplift the classic blues format to sound fresh and exciting in his own unique style.


Toronzo Cannon CD Release party at SPACE

1245 Chicago Ave (at Dempster), Evanston, IL

Phone: 847-492-8860

JUNE 6, Thursday --

Award-winning, world-beloved Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon and his band The Chicago Way will celebrate the release of his long-awaited new Alligator Records album, Shut Up & Play!, with a live performance at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday, June 6, 2024. With his richly detailed, truth-telling original songs, blistering, inventive guitar work and impassioned vocals, Cannon is on the cutting edge of today’s contemporary blues scene, and is known as one of the genre’s most creative artists. His sound is inspired by his heroes, including Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Albert King, Son Seals and Jimi Hendrix. On his third Alligator Records album Shut Up & Play! Cannon blazes his own path with 11 emotionally-charged originals. From serious to humorous, his imaginative songs are fueled by his powerful, cathartic guitar solos and his soulfully authoritative voice.


 Showtime: 8 p.m.

Ticket price: $16-$27


Piano Forte presents Pete Benson & Oscar Wilson

PianoForte Studios1335 S Michigan AveChicago, IL(312) 291-0291

June 6, Thursday / Noon to 1 pm

WDCB pre-Blues Fest live broadcast with pianist Pete Benson and Cash Box Kings vocalist Oscar Wilson

WDCB broadcasts can be heard on 90.9FM, online at, and audio broadcast on CAN TV42 in Chicago.

Admission is FREE!  However, seating at PianoForte Studios will be first come, first seated due to limited size of the venue.



Nick Moss Band FREE show at Epiphany

June 6, Thursday --

The hottest band on the international blues scene, Nick Moss Band just won the Blues Music Award honor for Best Blues Band in Memphis. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the band for FREE at Chicago’s most unique performance spaces, Epiphany, housed in a historic building that was once a church, complete with stained glass, pipe organ and high ceilings.

Showtime: 9 p.m.

RSVP for FREE tickets HERE


Queens of the Blues musical play at Studebaker Theater

June 7 thru 30 –

The Queens of the Blues is a musical theater performance at the Studebaker Theater, located in the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue across from the Art Institute.  There will be a Women in Blues photo exhibit in the lobby, curated by Lynn Orman.

The play concerns the lives of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Koko Taylor and Etta James. Thomas Dorsey (The Father of Gospel Music) is summoned by the highest heavenly power to assist the “Blues Queens” in acquiring their wings to get out of Purgatory. Thomas is joined by a close friend, famed Blues Guitarist Tampa Red, who speculates that this assignment will be difficult; none of the women have any plans on changing their mischievous ways!


2120 S. Michigan, Chicago

Phone: 312-808-1286

This historic blues shrine kicks off its FREE outdoor summer garden concert series this week which runs from June - September. Shows are from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

A special exhibit commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Rolling Stones recording at Chess Studio will run June 10-30th. Visit the website for updates 

June 6, Thursday – Stephen Hull Experience. This hot young artist just won Best Guitarist at IBC in Memphis!



The Blues Clubs

536 N. Clark (at Ohio), Chicago, IL

Phone: 312-661-0100

This cozy River North club is very tourist friendly and provides a warm atmosphere with female vocalists belting out good-time blues.

Wednesday, June 5 – Mike Wheeler Band w/ Sonia Astacio Downs

Thursday, June 6 –Nate Manos Band w/Laretha Weathersby

Friday, Saturday June 7-8 – BTS Express w/ Shirley Johnson

Sunday, June 9 –BTS Express w/ Laretha Weathersby

700 S. Wabash, Chicago

Phone: 312-427-1190

The music starts with a free acoustic set at 5:30 pm and continues until close. This is Buddy’s world famous blues venue where stars like The Rolling Stones or Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi may show up. This is always a nice option to catch blues either during or after the Blues Festival.  Tasty authentic Louisiana cuisine will keep your stomach happy, and the blues music will feed your soul.. Cover charges don’t kick in until the evening shows, so enjoy the free music. Kids are welcome during the dinner set. This year, the club’s namesake is headlining the fest, so you are likely to see Buddy hanging out here this weekend.

 Wednesday, June 5 – Big Llou’s FUNraiser w/ Toronzo Cannon, Mud Morganfield, Carlos Johnson, Donna Herula, Anne Harris, Nick Alexander & more

Thursday, June 6 – Morry Sochat & Special 20s, Matt Hendricks

Friday, June 7 – Mr. Sipp, Jonathon Ellison, Joanna Connor

Saturday, June 8 – Billy Branch and Sons of the Blues, Mandalyn & The Hunters, Stacy Brooks

Sunday, June 9 – Lil’ Ed, Sonia Astacio, Lil’ Red & The Rooster


6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn, IL

(708) 788-2118

Tuesday, June 4 -- Blues rock guitar goddess Melody Angel plays Bluesday Tuesday at this landmark music venue in the western suburb of Berwyn that features three stages and nonstop music, plus a BBQ restaurant on the premises. First hour broadcast live on WDCB, 90.9 FM

Friday, June 7 – On the Patio: Corey Dennison Band

Saturday, June 8 – Acclaimed Australian blues band Kings  & Associates comes to Berwyn. On the patio: Smiley Tillmon Band w/ Kate Moss


2548 N. Halsted, Chicago

Phone: 773-477-4646

Chicago’s longest running blues club, The Mines puts the “unk in funk.”  Two stages, so the music never stops and they serve pub food, too. The club stays open ‘til 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Saturdays.

Thursday, June 6 – Joanna Connor, Mike Wheeler, Gerry Hundt

Friday, June 7 – Rico McFarland, Nora Jean, Studebaker John

Saturday, June 8 –  Rico McFarland, Nora Jean, Gerry Hundt

Sunday, June 9 – Blues Jam w/ Joe Doyle & more


7401 South Chicago Ave., Chicago


Closed since 2015, this South Side juke joint known for quality blues music in the ‘hood since the early ‘70s, just reopened under new ownership. Thanks to a development grant from the city, entrepreneur Warren Berger revamped the old venue, while keeping its old school charm, and hired Jennifer Littleton (longtime manager of the now shuttered  BLUES on Hasted) to get things up running.

 Friday, Saturday June 7-8 – Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials


1516 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Phone: 773-252-1155

Nick’s is Wicker Park’s party central. Never a cover for excellent bands and a vast selection of beer. Need we say more?

Check website for schedule updates.


 Also: Reggie’s Rock Club  & Comedy Shack

2105 S. State Street, Chicago

Phone: 312-949-0120

Showtime: 8:30

Thursday, June 6: In the Music Joint: Oscar Wilson & Joe Nosek (from Cash Box Kings), Rob Stone, Omar Coleman, Martin Lang, Joey J Saye, Kenny Smith, Mike Scharf, Andrew Diehl, Lee Kanehira

Friday, June 7: In the Music Joint: Super Session with Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger, Oscar Wilson, Pooky Styx, Brother John Kattke, Melvin Smith, Dave Katzman, Amy Lowe & special guests.

In the Comedy Shack: Stephen Hull Experience, Gerry Hundt’s One-Man Band.


3420 W. Armitage, Chicago

Phone: 773-342-0452

Rosa’s is a great place in the western Logan Square area to hear the blues.  Chicago’s “friendliest blues bar” has a stellar lineup for the fest weekend. Look for Rosa’s stage at Chicago Blues Fest , too. Here’s what’s happening at the club:

Wednesday, June 5 – Stefan Hillesheim live CD recording

Thursday, June 6 – Lil’ Ed’s All-Star Band

Friday, June 7 – Lil’ Jimmy Reed & Ben Levin

Saturday, June 8 – Stephen Hull Experience

Sunday, June 9 -- Nate Manos Band



bottom of page