Chicago Blues Festival 2024

11:00am 06 Jun - 9:30pm 09 Jun, 2024

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Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Blues Festival 2024: An Incredible Celebration Of Blues In Chicago

It’s no secret that Chicago has bred some of the greatest blues artists in the world. The city has contributed a legacy to blues that no other has, and the best way to experience it by attending the Chicago Blues Festival. This annual three-day event is a delightful showcase of blues and jazz, played by local and national artists.

With over 500,000 attendees, it’s become one of the most famous, and biggest, blues festivals of its kind this side of the planet. More than just concerts, it’s become a gathering and a celebration; a pilgrimage made by all those who are passionate about this incredibly special genre of music.

Since 1984, the festival has hosted countless blues concerts to millions of fans from all over the world. It’s now a significant part of Chicago’s heritage and culture, an intangible institution that will stir you up, yet leave you inspired.

That’s not all; many of the city’s finest purveyors of beer and other libations, as well as food, will also be present. There will be several stages playing a diverse range of blues music, and if that isn’t enough, this is a good time of year to check out local establishments that will also be offering special blues evenings. Notable performers have included Mavis Staples, Willie Clayton, Jimmy Burns, Erwin Helfer, Otis Rush, Lil Ed, Guy King, the late Ray Charles, and so much more.

‘A music lover’s dream of tradition, heritage and legendary acts all inside a free summer festival make the Chicago Blues Festival a must-see.’

Your experience at the Chicago Blues Festival

There’s no doubt that this event has only gotten better over the years. Each summer the lineup only seems to bolster a wide-array of acts with last year’s setup including contemporary artists like Karen Wolfe to debut acts like Benny Turner who continues to build the legacy of his late brother Freddie King.

You will notice a strong sense of tradition and a large mix of old-schoolers on the festival grounds. The best thing to do is to explore. Whether you are a long standing fan of the music or fairly new to the genre, if you are willing to search, you are almost guaranteed to find hidden gems and new-found classics.  It’s located just outside the Cloud Gate sculpture otherwise known as “The Bean” right smack-dab in the middle of downtown Chicago.

Take your choice of viewing pleasure from several stages. Southern artists tend to play from the Juke Joint Stage on the North promenade. The Front Porch Stage located at Wrigley Square is a great vantage point and overlooks where pop-up tents are set up by nonprofit organizations.

Both Rosa’s Lounge and the Park Grill Stage will host music as well. No matter where you turn you will find only the best blues tunes.  

Best views of the Chicago Blues Festival

Aside from the incredible music and awesome vibes, the best part about this incredible blues festival is that it is free of charge! That being said, everything is on a first come, first serve basis including securing your seat among the crowd.

General seating on the Great Lawn and the Pavilion is up for grabs until the show starts. If you are trying to save seats for friends and they don’t show up by the time the first set starts, you will be asked to give up those spaces because of capacity protocol. That being said, if you are the type to get front-row action you better be one of the first ones there! 

What to wear

It’s summertime in Chi-town and you’re about to attend one of the raddest music festivals in the world. Treat it like what it is! 

Wear shorts, t-shirts, tanks or sundresses. We also recommend sandals or comfy shoes as well as a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.

What to pack

This event is a summer picnic with friends, food, drinks and a whole lot of memories. So pack accordingly! 

Picnic basket
Refillable bottle of water
Portable charging device
Food, wine, beer or cash to purchase at the concession tent 

Make sure to not bring the following as they are not allowed at Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 

BBQ grills 
Pop-up tents/canopies
Picnic umbrellas
Any pets 

Buy tickets

This amazing festival is absolutely free of charge. Over 50,000 fans gather at Chicago’s Millennium Park for three straight days. The event will feature a perfect mix of up-and-coming artists, local talent and some of the most decorated in the genre. Just show up and enjoy! 

Chicago Blues Festival 2024 Schedule

The 39th annual Chicago Blues Festival will take place from June 6 – 9, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion will feature headliners from 5-9 p.m. Make sure to check back for the full event schedule and official lineup. 

Top Tips

Summer in Chicago is a hell of a time, but it is going to get hot. Make sure to pack everything on our list to protect yourself from the weather. Ice packs or wet clothes work wonders on the back of your neck. 

Although the concession tent has good food, you can really save a lot of money by bringing your own food and drinks if you are traveling on a budget. 

Chicago Blues Festival History

The event began in 1984 and was put together by Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Louis Weisberg one year after the death of McKinley Morganfield who is considered the father of Chicago Blues. A tradition that has stayed true to the annual festival is the theme associated with the event that is dedicated to a recently departed blues musician.

The festival’s claim to fame is being known as the world’s largest free concert of its kind and the biggest festival in the city in Chicago. Year after year, the event has become a celebration of the men and women who dedicated their lives to playing the blues and keeping that tradition alive. 

Things to do in Chicago

Chicago is home to world-class blues and jazz venues, so there’ll be lots to explore long after the festival is over. The Windy City is known for its charming culture, modern architecture, great shopping, and show-stopping skyline. Shop at the Magnificent Mile, and marvel at the incredible structures at the Cloud Gate, Grant Park, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

The nightlife is awesome too; lots of late night partying awaits you here. Nurse your hangover at one of the breezy parks after indulging in the city’s legendary deep dish pizza.

What to eat in Chicago

Chicago is home to some of the best street eats known to man. It’s a city known for its incredible deep dish pizzas, Chicago dogs and upscale dishes. 

Our favourites are Garrett Mix Popcorn Shop for a  sweet and savory snack, Lou Mainati’s where a flaky, buttery crust pizza awaits you, Lem’s Bar-B-Q, an old school southside bbq joint and Portillio’s, Chicago Dog, Chicago Style!  

How to get there

Millenium Park is located right above the Millenium Park Station at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. This gives commuters access to South Shore Line and Metra Electric District trains. If you happen to be driving in, there is parking at Grant Park North, Grant Park South, East Monroe Garages, and Millenium Park Garage. 

Where to stay in Chicago

Chicago is home to some super hip neighborhoods that are a delight to base yourself in during your visit. The Loop is one of the most popular; ideal for first-time visitors due to its close proximity to the most iconic attractions in the city including Millennium Park.

Other great options include Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, the Magnificent Mile, Near South and South Loop, River North, Gold Coast, and West Loop.

How to get around

Chicago is a walkable city, with pretty straightforward navigation even for first-time visitors. Getting around is easy thanks to the Chicago Transit Authority, which services the city plus 40 nearby communities through bus and rail services. The Metra commuter rail train is a high-speed train that connects downtown Chicago to the outer suburbs.

Taxis are abundant downtown, but you can also hail them using a mobile app. Other transportation options include water taxis, bicycles, and car rentals. If you will be bringing a car to the event, the best places to park are the Millennium Park Garage or the Grant Park North Garage.

Do you enjoy Blues and Jazz? Read more about the Bluesfest in Australia and the New Orleans Jazz Fest in the United States.

Photo credits: Chicago Blues Festival

United States Travel Tips:

Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our United States travel guide and destination information. Does United States require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.

Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in United States? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.

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