The Chicago Blues Festival is a spectacular show of some of the best Blues artists from around the nation. The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and is the largest music festival in Chicago. Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles and B.B. King. This year, me and few friends were lucky enough to see most of Vance Kelly, Selwyn Birchwood, and Dr. John. I know very little about the Blues, so I am going to give an uninformed three sentence review of each of these artists. (Spoiler Alert: all of these reviews are positive.)
This guy can play guitar; I mean, he can really, really play guitar. It’s my understanding that one of the structural components of Blues is playing a lick or a chord, and then answering with another lick. And man, can Vance Kelly answer.
He’s a rising star in the Blues scene and he works magic on the guitar. His deep baritone voice fills the melody of every song making the audience swell with joy. I have no pictures of Birchwood, and I wish that I did.
Dr. John’s skill on the piano is unreal; he skipped seamlessly between standard piano and a synthesizer. I am learning the very very basics of blues piano, and listening to Dr. John both gave me hope for where I could be, and made me realize how far I have to go. He closed out the festival in style.
Organizing the Biggest Blues
The Chicago Blues Festival was amazing, and as a student in Columbia’s Business and Entrepreneurship, MAM program, the organizational aspect of it intrigues me. Put on by the City of Chicago, it features 17 major sponsors, including Pepsi, Southwest Airlines, and Bud Light. All of the sponsorships no doubt allow the festival to be free. At all festivals like this there is a ticket based system for getting food or drink, which inevitably makes you spend more money than you want to. With all these great acts and the free admission, I wonder if the City actually makes a bit of money on the festival. I haven’t looked at the financial information concerning the festival, and I’m not going to seek it out. However the festival was developed and executed, I had a great time with my friends, which for me was the point all along.