Eddie Cochran famously claimed in his 1958 classic rockabilly hit that, “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,” and from the looks of the upcoming blues events for central Illinois we’re in for an epidemic. From the Chatham Sweetcorn Festival to the Old State Capitol Blues & BBQs, with several Blue Monday jams tossed in alongside various festivals in surrounding cities, we’re loaded with blues for the rest of the summer.
This weekend kicks off the blues extravaganza when the Chatham Jaycees host the
36th annual Sweetcorn Festival in Chatham Community Park. Music headliners
Ragged Jack and Heartsfield on Friday and The Station on Saturday carry the
nighttime entertainment while the Illinois Central Blues Club hosts “An Afternoon of Sweetcorn Blues” Saturday, from noon to 7 p.m. The warm weather blues starts with Jake Shane and
Bluestone, then harmonica wizard Deak Harp takes the stage at 1:30, with the
Sofa Kings at 3:30, and then Kilborn Alley runs out the clock from 5:30 to 7.
Interspersed among these fine blues acts are the staple events of the festival,
such as the nationally renowned Illinois Championship Cow Chip Throw, the Sweet
Cornholing competition, and St. Andrew’s Society Ancient Athletics contests, plus various other exciting and
interesting activities sure to boggle the mind and thrill the soul.
Up at the Tri-Lakes facility in Bloomington, the Nothin’ But the Blues Festival gets going this weekend as well, running from around 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday and 1:30 to about 10 p.m. on Saturday. Now in its eighth year, the festival grew from a one-day event into this weekend affair attracting thousands of visitors. The music covers blues styles from A to Z and that would be from an Australian on the didgeridoo (Harper) to Zydeco from Louisiana (Nathan and the Zydeco ChaChas). Check out the complete scoop on who, what, when and where online at www.nothinbuthebluesfestival.com.
For your weekly dose of the blues, the ever faithful Blue Monday at the Alamo
continues to bless us with good blues bands again and again. On July 20,
locals, the Texas Groove Band, bring the Lone Star blues sound back to the
Alamo. Then on July 27, come celebrate at the Blues Birthday Bash of guitar
master and all-around great guy, Bill Evans. On through Mondays in August comes
a superb lineup of nationally touring acts including Bryan Lee, Laurie Morvan,
the Levee Town Blues Band and Todd Wolfe. Also, every Wednesday, up in Pekin,
the River City Blues Society hosts a weekly blues show at the Dragon’s Dome event complex starting around 7 p.m. Upcoming acts include Joanna Connor,
Jon Justice, Eddie Turner and area stalwart Dave Chastain.
Of course, no talk of blues shows in central Illinois would be complete without mentioning our very own Old Capitol Blues & BBQs, to be held on Aug. 29 starting around 3 p.m. This year the festival features Junior Watson, Toni Lynn Washington, Big James and the Chicago Playboys and others. Also included in the festivities is the Blues Challenge contest hosted by the Illinois Central Blues Club where several area bands compete for the opportunity to attend the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. So far no appearances by President Obama are scheduled like last year’s showing by candidate Obama to announce his running mate.
For a final summertime blues adventure, head to Peoria for the Illinois Blues Festival in Riverfront Park, Sept. 4-5. Headlined by the venerable blues icon, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and sporting a terrific lineup of a broad range of blues performers, the 21st annual festival runs on three stages and includes musician workshops and plenty of vendors. All proceeds benefit the Illinois Blues Coalition, a worthy supporter of blues education throughout the state.
Maybe these summertime blues ain’t so bad after all.
Contact Tom Irwin at email@example.com.