Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Fest

By Team JamBase Oct 5, 2009 5:50 pm PDT


“The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival will prove to be the next great landmark in Chicago music culture.” – Herschel Concepcion,

Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival 2008 by Sands
The Congress Theater, in conjunction with Chicago independents Kingtello Presents, is proud to announce the second coming of the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival. While rooted in the foot-stomping influences of bluegrass and blues, the festival will transport the concertgoer through the genre-defying evolution of music today. The all-ages one-day event, held on Saturday, December 12 from 11 a.m. to midnight, will serve as a tribute to two schools of music that continue to shape and inspire contemporary rock, jam, funk, folk, roots, Americana, and indie cultures.

Against the backdrop of an official Chicago landmark and one of the last of the classic “movie palaces,” fans will be treated to a party with a purpose, featuring 3 stages and 25 bands for less than the typical price of the headliners alone. Six-time Grammy-winner Béla Fleck and his Flecktones will unite for their first Chicago date together since mid-2007, as Béla has been devoting extended stints to the likes of the Sparrow Quartet, The Africa Project, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussain.

They’ll be joined by Philadelphia’s psych-folk harmonizers, Dr. Dog, who’ve rapidly ascended the public consciousness this year with breakout performances at both Coachella and Camp Bisco. The Emmitt-Nershi Band, uniting Leftover Salmon’s mandolin and vocals (Drew Emmitt) with the songwriting and flat-picking guitar of The String Cheese Incident (Billy Nershi), joins the party as well. And Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, proudly declared “Chicago’s premier blues entertainer” by the Chicago Tribune, will properly represent the scene that put his city on the international music map.

Tickets are onsale for $35 through the event’s website,, and

The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival will offer a musical reprieve from the merciless Chicago Winter by adapting elements of a summer music festival to the historic and intimate indoor setting. In addition to 13 hours of 3 stages worth of nonstop music, the day’s activities will also include a pickin’ circle, a live-art exhibition and indoor gallery, charitable raffles, film screenings, the original Blues Brothers car, and impromptu marching band performances.

In between main stage sets, an array of performers will treat fans to special “pop-up” sets from the Congress Theater’s historic balcony.

Join the Headliners on the Main Stage – Last Banjo Standing Contest: Organizers have announced that they will once again hold the “LAST BANJO STANDING,” an online contest that scours Chicagoland to find the top bluegrass or blues inspired artist. The winner, as voted on by fans, family, friends and music lovers around the city will join the headliners on the main stage roster. Sign up and vote at

About the Charities:
And while the festival will serve to break a band or two, festival-goers will get to help children. A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to two non-profit organizations, the Saving tiny Hearts Society and Prevent Child Abuse America.

The complete artist roster includes:

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones
Dr. Dog
Emmitt-Nershi Band
Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater
The Giving Tree Band
Josh Phillips Folk Festival
Van Ghost
Majors Junction
Chicago Farmer
Jaik Willis
Mike Mangione & The Band
Holy Ghost Tent Revival
Environmental Encroachment
How Far to Austin
Liberty Bluegrass Band
The Right Now
Cobalt & the Hired Guns
The Shams Band
The Junior League Band

For coverage of the 2008 Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival go here.

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