CHICAGO — After budget cuts forced the Chicago Blues Festival to shrink in 2009, it's moving back to four days this year — with an opening night celebration in Millennium Park.
The 30th annual Chicago Blues Festival, dubbed "Rollin' Up the River," will run June 6-9 and feature performances by "Queen of the Blues" Shemekia Copeland and blues guitar prodigy Quinn Sullivan.
While the majority of the festival will be held in Grant Park as usual, Thursday night's performance will kick off at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The theme of the festival focuses on the "great migration" of African Americans from the southern United States to Chicago in the 1940s and '50s, according to the city's Department of Cultural Affairs.
"During that period, the 'Delta blues' landed in the 'the promised land,' establishing the foundation for the genre’s electric guitar sound known as the 'Chicago blues' style," the department said. "The voyage will start in New Orleans, Louisiana and Mississippi on Friday then to Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday ending in Chicago on Sunday, where the blues electrified the world."
The full festival lineup will be announced in the spring.