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Chicago Gears Up for Annual Blues Festival

Toronzo Cannon and the Cannonball Express perform on the first day of the 22nd Annual Chicago Blues Festival (file photo)
Chicago, Illinois is gearing up for one of its most celebrated events of the year: the Chicago Blues Festival which runs from June 8 - 10.

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Blues fans from around the world will descend upon Grant Park in downtown Chicago for three free days of acoustic and electric blues by mostly-hometown musicians. You can count on the city’s very own Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials to showcase their new album, Jump Start” with tunes like “World Of Love.

The weekend’s offerings will salute some of Chicago’s blues legends. On tap are tributes to vocalist Koko Taylor, singer and guitarist David “Honeyboy” Edwards and guitarist Hubert Sumlin. There will also be a celebration of Muddy Waters’ disciples Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and George “Mojo” Buford.

Waters’ son Mud Morganfield will lead the all-star tribute to some of his dad's best-known band members who passed away in 2011.

Also scheduled on one of five festival stages are: a “Blues in the Schools” concert; panel discussions on legendary bluesmen Howlin’ Wolf and Lightnin’ Hopkins; five bands competing in the “Chicago Blues Challenge”; esteemed guitarists Lurrie Bell and Joe Louis Walker; and blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples. Staples, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Staples Singers, won a Grammy Award in 2011 for her album You Are Not Alone.