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CHICAGO (CBS) — Gospel and rhythm and blues legend Mavis Staples is the headliner for this year’s Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park.
The festival got underway in Grant Park Friday. During the day, live performers will be on four satellite stages – the Bud Light Crossroads, Mississippi Juke Joint, Pepsi Front Porch, and Windy City Blues Society stages.
In the evenings, the action moves to the Petrillo Music Shell, which will sizzle on Friday night with a tribute to country blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins. Starting at 5:45 p.m., guitarist the Rev. K.M. Willliams; guitarist Milton Hopkins and singer Jewel Brown; and legendary Houston bluesman Texas Johnny Brown will perform.
On Saturday at the Petrillo, look for guitarist Paul Kaye to take the stage with a tribute to the late David “Honeyboy” Edwards – an old-school Delta bluesman who had been on the roster for the Blues Festival last year, but was too ill to make it. Edwards died on Aug. 29 of last year at the age of 96.
After Kaye comes a celebration of the disciples of blues icon Muddy Waters – piano bluesman Pinetop Perkins, vocalist and harmonica player Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and harmonica player Mojo Buford. All three performers died last year.
The tribute will feature a performances by guitarist Steady Rollin Bob Margolin; vocalist Larry “Mud” Morganfield, the eldest son of Muddy Waters; drummer Kenny ”Beedy Eyes” Smith; pianist Barrelhouse Chuck; Lil’ Frank; vocalist Bob Strogerl; and harmonica player Joe Filisko.
Finally, Floyd Taylor – the son of blues, soul and disco legend Johnnie Taylor – is onstage at the Petrillo at 8:25 p.m.
On Sunday, Staples takes the stage at the Petrillo from 7:45 to 9 p.m. Before she goes on, look for a tribute to the late Koko Taylor with an all-women ensemble of Melvia “Chick” Rodgers, Jackie Scott, Deitar Farr, Nora Jean Brusco and the Koko Taylor Blues Machine Band at 6 p.m.
The first ever blues festival in Grant Park was held in 1969, and featured Taylor, Waters, Junior Wells, Willie Dixon and Bo Diddley, among others. The Blues Festival in its current incarnation has been held annually at the beginning of June since 1984, and John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry and Keith Richards have been among the many superstars to take the stage at the Petrillo Band Shell over the years.
The Blues Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day it is in operation.