Shakin’ Your Blues in Chicago – Buddy Guy’s Legends and Chicago Blues Festival

“Damn right, I’ve got the blues!” ~ Buddy Guy

It’s been almost 10 years since I moved to Chicago.  It took some time but I love this city as much as I love New York (Never thought I’d say that!).  I have been incredibly fortunate to live in walking distance to Grant Park, Millennium Park, the stunning lakefront, Soldier Field and Museum Campus.  

But, the icing on this proverbial cake, the fact that made me believe my move to Chicago was the right choice is my apartment’s extremely close proximity to Buddy Guy’s Legends.  I love Buddy Guy.  I couldn’t think of a better way to shake any blues than to live near the club of one of the greatest living blues artists in the world.

Buddy Guy's Legends sign


Over the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting Buddy several times at Legend’s when he was in town.  During the month of January, Buddy is in residence there from Thursday through Sunday.  He plays with a different artist each night and hangs around to chat with customers and sign autographs.  I am happy to report that he is a really nice, humble and approachable man.

Buddy is also a walking personification of passion, persistence and perseverance.  As a very young man, he wanted to play guitar but he had no money.  So, he fashioned a guitar of his own out of the strings from a screen door and some buttons.  I know!  Sure, that is an awesome story.  But, there is no better way to truly appreciate Buddy’s story than to watch him perform live. The same goes for any live performance.  Going out to hear live shows whether in Chicago or other cities (I have traveled to other continents for concerts), is the quickest way I know to lighten my mood.  Nothing gets under my skin, gets me out of my head and lifts my spirits quite the way a live show can do.  


Buddy Guy's Legends band

Guitarist at Buddy Guy's Legends


This weekend marked my favorite time of year, Chicago Blues Festival.  Held in Grant Park over 3 days, Chicago Blues Festival is the largest blues fest in the world.  It is also a FREE event which attracts the very best blues artists both local and from afar.  Saturday night,  Buddy Guy headlined at Petrillo Bandshell, after a few storms rolled through during the end of Shemekia Copeland’s gig. Such a wonderful evening and I went solo!


Chicago Blues Festival entrance

Chicago Blues Festival Columbus Drive


Chicago Blues Festival Blues Kids Foundation

Chicago Blues Foundation kids

Chicago Blues Foundation kids performing outside of the main stage. They were great!

Shemekia Copeland at Chicago Blues Festival

Shemekia Copeland and her band came in from NYC.

Shemekia Copeland at Chicago Blues Fest

Shemekia Copeland


Sunday night, the the festival ended with centennial tributes to Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters on the main stage.  Very cool.  Did I mention that Chicago Blues Festival is free?  Yeah.  I did!  Are you writing this down?  Put this event on your calendar for next year.  You never know which fabulous musical acts will show up.



Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park

Grant Park hosts the 32nd annual Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago Blues Festival stage

Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park

Muddy Waters' bandmates at Chicago Blues Festival

Muddy Waters' guitarist at Chicago Blues Festival

Muddy Waters' son at Chicago Blues Festival

Muddy Waters' sons at Chicago Blues Festival

Muddy Waters’ sons pay tribute to him at Chicago Blues Festival

Sugar Blue at Chicago Blues Festival

The great Sugar Blue on harmonica

Willie Dixon's family at Chicago Blues Festival

Willie Dixon's nieces at Chicago Blues Festival

Willie Dixon’s family pays tribute to him at Chicago Blues Festival

Willie Dixon's grandson at Chicago Blues Festival

Willie Dixon’s grandson and great-granddaughter

Chicago is not only home to the blues but to Chess Records.  There’s a lot of history here and fun to be had around town.  Buddy Guy’s Legends is my favorite venue to kick back, rock out and shed whatever bullshit has got me down.  It is just 2 blocks west of Grant Park, so I like to stop by after the festivities at Blues Fest to see which musicians may show up and take the stage.

There are some other great blues spots in Chicago such as Kingston Mines and Rosa’s Lounge on the north side.  Other excellent venues serving up a variety of musical genres are Auditorium Theatre, Park WestNortherly Island, The Chicago Theatre and House of Blues to name a few.  

Whatever your musical tastes, Chicago has all the rattle and roll to shake away your blues  🙂



Labeled: Culture & Community · Travel