When you get down to it, there's nothing quite like the Chicago Blues Fest. Seriously. Every single year, without fail, there's at least one name on the list of performers that warrants a wow. Over the past 29 years, we've been graced with the presence of Chuck Berry, Etta James, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Bettye LaVette...you get the idea.
In 2012, the fest brought Chicago native Mavis Staples back home. We'll always feel an allegiance to Miss Staples because she's one of our own, but regardless, she's a star in her own right—both as a member of Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Famers The Staple Singers and as a Grammy-winning solo artist who's collaborated with everyone from Bob Dylan to Ray Charles.
A good 500,000 guests turned up to Grant Park throughout the three-day-long fest. At the final show of the weekend, Mavis performed tracks from her newest album, You Are Not Alone (which was produced by Wilco frontman and fellow Illinoisan Jeff Tweedy), and paid tribute to rock legend Levon Helm, who passed away in April, with a cover of "The Weight."
Along with Mavis, the fest's final day featured Lil 'Ed and the Blues Imperials, the Liz Mandeville & Donna Herula Duo and Dexter Allen, among many more. Check out TOC's photos from the big event—and in case you missed it, here's what went down on Friday and Saturday: Chicago Blues Festival, Friday and Saturday | Photos