Summertime is festival time in Chicago! The festivals range from neighborhood street fairs to huge productions such as The Chicago Blues Festival, now in its 32nd year. I spent a wonderful three days at this wonderful free event despite some iffy weather. It is, after all Chicago! With five stages and so many acts performing, it was easy to find something to my liking!
I won't go into much details about Blues Fest here, since with an attendance of about 100,000 music fans each year, odds are you know someone that went! By the way, did I mention it's free?
I would, however like to mention the peripheral events that occur as part of the agenda. There are pre and after parties where top musicians gather into small clubs and jam into the early hours!
I have been working on an assignment covering "Mud" Morganfield, the eldest son of Blues Legend Muddy Waters whose birth year centennial was being commemorated this year at The Chicago Blues Festival. Mud Morganfield and his younger brother Big Bill were scheduled to headline on the Petrillo stage on Sunday night for the close of the event.
I wound up at Reggie's Night Club late Saturday night for an evening of music. Despite getting there late and a capacity crowd, I managed to find a seat a few feet from the stage with some friends that arrived early. Rockin' Johnny Burgin was already performing getting the crowd in the mood. Sitting at the next table, a few feet from me was none other than Mud Morganfield himself.
In this rather intimate environment, fans approached him and the other musicians to get cd's autographed or pose for selfy's. That type of interaction would not even be remotely possible during a large venue performance.
I am not in any way suggesting a club visit replace your big festival experience, but it can certainly enhance it on a personal level. So next time you hit one of the big music festivals, whether Pitchfork, Riot Fest or The Jazz Festival, check out some of local clubs for a different perspective.