Label Stars Shemekia Copeland, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Billy Branch and Toronzo Cannon Perform Live At Free World Renowned Event 

On Wednesday, May 11, The City Of Chicago announced the lineup for the 2022 Chicago Blues Festival, taking place Thursday, June 9 (starting on a Thursday for first time in years) through Sunday, June 12 at Millennium Park as well as in other locations throughout the city. This year the the festival will feature four Alligator artists in live performance, including two on Thursday.

The Chicago Blues Festival will be held all four days in Millennium Park with performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph Street), the Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (North Promenade) and the Rosa's Lounge Stage (South Promenade). On Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12, the festival adds four additional stages throughout the city: "Taste To Go Featuring Soul City Blues" (5720 West Chicago), "Bronzeville Blues" (Armstrong Park, 3322 S. St. Lawrence), "City Markets" (800 S. Des Plaines), and "Blues On The Riverwalk" (305 West Riverwalk South). Admission is free. Find more information here.

On Thursday, June 9, Chicago Blues ambassador, guitarist and songwriter Toronzo Cannon and singing sensation Shemekia Copeland are the closing acts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Harmonica giant Billy Branch headlines the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Friday, June 10 and will also make a guest appearance as part of "Bronzeville Blues" on Sunday, June 12. Raw and rocking Chicago favorites Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials will perform on Saturday, June 11 as the closing act of "Taste To Go Featuring Soul City Blues."

Daily performances begin at 12:00pm at the Promenade stages and at 2:40pm at The Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Alligator artists' performance information is as follows: 

Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 
6:30pm-7:30pm - Toronzo Cannon
7:45pm-9:00pm - Shemekia Copeland

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022
Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 
7:45pm-9:00pm - Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

Taste To Go Featuring Soul City Blues
5720 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 
6:40pm-7:55pm - Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2022
Bronzeville Blues
Armstrong (Lillian Hardin) Park
4433 S. St. Lawrence Ave.
Chicago, IL 
6:40pm-7:55pm - Mud Morganfield featuring special guests Billy Branch, Freddie Dixon, Big James, Vance Kelly and Melody Angel with backing musicians Bob Stroger, Harmonica Hinds, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Rick Kreher, and Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi


Shemekia Copeland is the female blues artist of her generation, blessed with a cathartic voice and larger-than-life presence. Shemekia joined the Alligator family when she was only 18. Since then, she’s made nine sensational albums, been nominated for three Grammys, won over a dozen Blues Music Awards, appeared at the White House, opened for the Rolling Stones, and toured worldwide. Over the last decade, she’s been expanding her blues, bringing in strains of Americana and delivering songs with up-to-the-minute, socially conscious lyrics. The Chicago Tribune says, “Shemekia Copeland is the greatest female blues singer working today.” No Depression declares, “Copeland pierces your soul. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland." 

Upon release of his Alligator Records debut, The Chicago Way in 2016, Toronzo Cannon burst onto the international stage as one of the most electrifying bluesmen to emerge from Chicago in decades. The Chicago Reader said, “Bluesman Toronzo Cannon is one of Chicago’s finest string-bending storytellers.” He has played major cities all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including stops in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Poland and Japan, delighting and surprising audiences with one unforgettable gig after another. He has played the Chicago Blues Festival on ten separate occasions. Blues Music Magazine says, “Cannon has all the fire and spontaneity of the Chicago legends. His songwriting is a timely and original look at the world, and his assertive voice is the perfect vehicle to deliver the message.” 

Since his 1978 debut on Alligator's Living Chicago Blues series, Billy Branch has earned a place among the world’s best blues harp players. He was mentored by Chicago’s harp royalty—James Cotton, Junior Wells and Carey Bell. They all considered him their successor as the Windy City’s next harmonica king. His all-star band, The Sons Of Blues, is among the premier blues bands anywhere. With hundreds of studio sessions and 15 albums of his own, including Alligator's Roots And Branches--The Songs Of Little Walter, Billy Branch is one of the most-recorded blues artists in the world. Living Blues says, "Billy Branch has cemented his place among the kings. Chugging, incessant blues and R&B...greasy, funky, howlin’ harp attack that really burns...wonderful, bold and surprising." 

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, more than any other band now on the label, personify Alligator Records' original raw and raucous “Genuine Houserockin’ Music” spirit. Ed and his half-brother, bassist James “Pookie” Young, grew up on Chicago’s tough West Side. They learned the old school sound and style from their beloved uncle, famed Chicago slide guitarist J.B. Hutto, who started recording in the 1950s. Guitarist Michael Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton, blues pilgrims from Detroit, joined Ed and Pookie almost 35 years ago. They’ve been together ever since, delivering joyful boogies and serious slide-driven Chicago blues. The Chicago Tribune says, “Electrifying, raucous, pure Chicago blues….Lil’ Ed is a guitarist extraordinaire…slashing slide and flamboyant stage persona."