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Bettye LaVette, Dr. John Headline Chicago Blues Festival

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 1, 2014 6:00PM

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events released the full schedule for the 31st annual Chicago Blues Festival and the headliners for the June 13-15 event in Grant Park is heavy on out-of-town star power. Given the state of Chicago’s current blues scene, that isn’t a bad thing.

The headliners at the Petrillo band shell include the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bettye LaVette, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Nikki Hill, Theo Huff, the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band, the Otis Taylor Band and Billy Boy Arnold.

LaVette, who headlines the June 14 Petrillo lineup, Neville and Dr. John (who close out the festival on the 15th) will most certainly draw crowds based on name recognition alone and including the Carolina Chocolate Drops (who play Petrillo on the 13th) is an inspired booking. Top to bottom, however, this is one of the weakest Blues Fest lineups in recent memory. See for yourself; the full lineup follows.

June 13:

Bud Light Crossroads Stage

11:15am - Ronnie Hicks and Masheen Company Band

12:45pm - Guy King

2:30pm - James Armstrong

4:15pm - Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners

The Jackson Rhythm and Blues Stage

11:30am - Panel Discussion of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson with Billy Boy Arnold and Mark Hummel

1pm - Ben Payton

2:30pm - Mr. Sipp “The Mississippi Blues Child”

4pm - Vick Allen

5:30pm - Ronnie Hicks and Masheen Company Band Jam Session

Pepsi Front Porch Stage

Noon-1pm - Blues In The Schools with Stone Academy, Eric Noden, Katherine Davis

1:30-2:30pm - Harmonica Hinds

3-4pm - Cicero Blake

4:30-5:30pm - Mark Hummel’s Harmonica Blow Out with Billy Boy Arnold

Petrillo Music Shell

6pm - Carolina Chocolate Drops

7:05pm - Otis Taylor Band

8:25pm - (Celebrate Centennial of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson”) The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band with Sam Lay, Billy Boy Arnold, Marcella Detroit, Billy Branch and Omar Coleman

June 14

Bud Light Crossroads Stage

11:15am - Michael Charles

12:45 - Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band

2:30 - Selwyn Birchwood

4:15pm - Chicago Blues Diva’s with Peaches Staten, Deitra Farr and Nellie “Tiger” Travis

The Jackson Rhythm and Blues Stage

11:30am - Panel Discussion - “Mississippi’s Next Generation of the Blues” with Mr Sipp”The Mississippi Blues Child”, Dexter Allen and Chris Gill. Faclitated by Alex Thomas

1pm - Chris Grill & The Sole Shakers

2:30pm - Southern Komfort Brass Band

4pm - Dexter Allen

5:30pm - Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith Jam Session

Pepsi Front Porch Stage

12 Noon - Guy King

1:30pm - Matthew Skoller Band

3pm - Tribute to Phil Guy (Italy/Chicago collaboration with Dario Lombardo, Delores Scott and Friends)

4:30pm - Big James & the Chicago Playboys

Petrillo Music Shell

6pm - Theo Huff

6:55pm - Willie Clayton

8:15pm - Bettye LaVette

June 15

Bud Light Crossroads Stage

11:15am - Homemade Jamz

12:45pm - The NuBlu Band

2:30pm - Mike Wheeler Band

4:15pm - Smiley Tillmon Band

The Jackson Rhythm and Blues Stage

11:30am - Panel Discussion - Farish Street Blues with Marcia Weaver, Dorothy Moore and Gale Dean Wardlow

1pm - Lady L

2:30pm - Pat Brown

4pm - Dorothy Moore

5:30pm - Blues Jam Session with Dexter Allen

Pepsi Front Porch Stage

12 Noon - Diamond Jim Greene

1:30pm - Mike Dangeroux Blues Band

3pm - Chicago Delta Blues Band with Bob Stroger, Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith

4:30pm - Sugar Blue

Petrillo Music Shell

5:45pm - Nikki Hill

6:45pm - Aaron Neville

815pm - Dr. John