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Blues on the Fox
21st Annual Festival June 16 - 17

ShowBlues on the Fox
DateFriday, Jun 16 - 17 2017
Gates: 6pm
Show: 7pm
Gates: 2pm
Show: 3pm
Price$20 per day
Download a Seating Chart

There was no way to know the ground-breaking impact musicians John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy and others would have when they sat down to record their incredible sound at the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora in the 1930s. As soon as those guitar strings were plucked and their soulful voices filled the air, everything we knew about blues was changed forever, and Blues on the Fox celebrates that monumental piece of history. For 21 years, blues musicians from across the world have gathered in Aurora to play their hearts out to blues-loving crowds in the thousands, and this year’s lineup is sure to get your head swaying and feet grooving.


Gates open 6 p.m. Tickets per day: $10 through May 31; $20 starting June 1

Shemekia Copeland: 7 p.m.

“She roars with a sizzling hot intensity,” raves The Boston Globe. She has a “gale force singing and power” writes the Chicago Tribune. NPR says she’s “fiercely expressive.” She’s Shemekia Copeland, a musical force to be reckoned with. Growing up with her bluesman father, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Shemekia always knew she wanted to sing, but it wasn’t until she was 16 when she began opening for her father that her explosive voice began blowing audiences away. Since then, she’s been nominated for 3 Grammys and has been a mainstay on the blues circuit. She’s sung with legends like B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and opened for The Rolling Stones. Even if she quit music today, Shemekia would leave behind a remarkable résumé. But she’s not. She’s just getting warmed up and has her sights set on a trailblazing future.

Mavis Staples: 9 p.m.

Talk about a living legend. Mavis Staples has seen and done it all, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to hang up the microphone. Not even close. Grammy Award-winner Mavis Staples – yes, the one who turned down a marriage proposal from Bob Dylan – was born right here in Chicago and began singing with her family at local churches in 1950 when she was just a little girl. Now, 67 years later, Mavis is still belting out those eye-watering, jaw-dropping gospel and blues notes that made her a star enormously respected by her peers: Ice Cube and Ludacris have sampled her vocals, and she recently sang with Arcade Fire. When you think about the best freedom songs of the 20th century, Mavis is right there near the top of the list with “Down in Mississippi” and “I’ll Take You There.” And with a recent Presidential Medal of Freedom and Kennedy Center Honors, she is hotter than ever.


Gates open 2 p.m. Tickets per day: $10 through May 31; $20 starting June 1

Nicholas David: 3 p.m.

Devon Allman, originally slated to perform at 5 p.m., is stepping away from all touring through the fall in the wake of the passing last week of his father Gregg Allman. Stepping in for Allman and opening Saturday’s festival is the soulful, bluesy singer/songwriter Nicholas David, best known for his unforgettable 2012 run on NBC’s The Voice. David, who plays to sold out shows around the country, will open day two of the festival. Nicholas David is a vibrant, dynamic and multi-talented singer/songwriter from Saint Paul, MN. For more than a decade, David has composed alternative soul music that connects with people worldwide on a deeply human level. David’s music is a fully integrative experience, incorporating multiple genres and influences ranging everywhere from Prince to Beethoven. His powerful voice, enriching lyrics and liquid piano playing set him apart and are the reasons Skope Magazine called him “an authentic artist of this millennium,” while the Chicago Tribune hailed his “mix of the growl of Dr. John with the silk of Marvin Gaye.”

Guy King Band: 5 p.m.

If you’re looking for that classic jazz sound of yesteryear fused with a fresh spin that’s all his own, look no further than Guy King. Guy first came to the U.S. from Israel on tour at the age of 16 before later heading to Chicago and joining the band of legendary Willie Kent. In 2006, Guy began his own incredible solo career performing at House of Blues, Buddy Guy’s Legends and more. Guy’s own mind-blowing brand of blues, jazz, soul and R&B makes his amazing performances stand miles above the rest. His passion for music is so great that when growing up in a small village in Israel, he had to travel for hours to get to a record store in Tel Aviv. When they didn’t have the Albert King record he wanted, he placed an order for it and had to do the whole trip again a month later. While those days are over, Guy’s love for music and jazz has only grown, cementing him as a world-class musician that needs to be seen to be believed.

Elvin Bishop: 7 p.m.

Having been inducted into not only the Blues Hall of Fame, but the Rock and Roll of Fame, Grammy nominee Elvin Bishop knows a little something about music, and he’s going to give a lesson impossible to forget. It’s all right here: “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” “Let It Flow” and so much more. This is the man who sat in with the Grateful Dead, co-billed a series of concerts with The Allman Brothers Band and had one of his songs featured on the smash soundtrack to “Guardians of the Galaxy,” proving that his music has a timeless quality that attracts new and old listeners alike. Elvin’s musical career began in 1963 when he met Paul Butterfield and joined his blues band. For five years, they played together until he left to form The Elvin Bishop Group. Over the years, he’s released more than 20 incredible albums. His last studio album “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” dropped in 2014. Watching Elvin play is like getting your own private lesson in what it takes to be an outstanding musician, and this is one class you won’t want to skip.

Jonny Lang: 9 p.m.

Jonny was only 12-years-old when he first picked up a guitar. He must have felt a spark when he touched it, because what he’s produced since is nothing short of stunning. All you need to do is look at his five albums that have charted on the Billboard 200 and his two Grammy nominations, including a win for his 2007 album Turn Around. Jonny shreds with his brand of blues, gospel, pop, R&B and rock, then he uses his smooth, soulful voice to tug at your heart, soul and mind. If you’ve never heard Jonny play, you’re missing out on one of the most unique talents of his generation. He’s a performer living up to the legends who inspired him and making his own mark on musical history.


Check out this cool organization called the Fox Valley Music Foundation. It’s a great group of talented musicians, educators and music lovers who help preserve and promote the amazing music of this area. They are also the tireless advocates that work to share the rich heritage and sounds of the Blues.

FOOD VENDORS ON-SITE: Genoa Italian Concessions, Leland Legends, Noon Lions, Señor Taco and Taco Grill


Children 12 and under are admitted free to Blues on the Fox but must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.

For this event, there will be limited bench seating in front of the stage with area for bag chairs in between. Bench seating is first come, first served. No bag chairs are allowed in the bench areas. The rest of the park is general admission for bag chairs. Bag chairs and blankets are also allowed on the lawn areas. SEE MAP

Events at RiverEdge Park will take place rain or shine. In the event of a cancellation due to weather, a credit in the amount of the face value of your ticket will be issued to your customer account. The credit may be used towards a future ticket purchase for performances at RiverEdge Park or Paramount Theatre. No refunds will be issued.

Children 12 and under are admitted free to Blues on the Fox, but must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.

LEARN MORE about RiverEdge Park policies