Related: Blues Fest - Top Picks
(Thanks to HKS)
- Lawn seating at the Front Porch stage provides quick access to food and beverage purveyors, bathrooms (aka port-a-pottys), and shaded areas with good views of the stage. They typically have piano and harp (aka harmonica) blues and acoustic sets here. Expect to see some old names on stage.
- The Juke Joint stage is a very intimate setting. There are a few benches set up for seating. Otherwise, you have the standard asphalt or bring your own chair situation. The electric keyboard and guitar sessions promise to impress and often feature father-son combo acts.
- The Crossroads stage serves large crowds. Access to bathrooms here is good and there is some shaded grassy seating available with good sound, but little or no viewing. Several benches set up for seating, but standard asphalt or bring your own chair seating.
- In the afternoon while listening at Blues Fest, go to the entrance of the Petrillo Music Shell seating area and get a stamp/wristband for later entrance to the seating area, if that's where you'd like to sit.
- It's also a good idea to buy enough food and beverage tickets for the entire day, so you don't get stuck standing in huge and crowded lines to buy them in the evening.
- If you are sitting on the lawn, bring tarps or some kind of water barrier as the grassy area is always moist this time of year. Or, take along some fancy chairs to sit in, but still bring rain gear. Odds are it will rain at some point during Blues Fest.
- Because it rains every year, blues fest is also a bit of a mud fest. Fashionistas beware. You may want to choose your shoes appropriately because they will get trashed and your feet will at some point sink into the mud. Any kind of washable sandal is a good choice, and flip-flops work but your toes might get muddy. Socks and sneakers are also good, but you may want a back up pair of dry socks.
- The Petrillo Music Shell lawn area set-ups get elaborate as with many events in the music shell area. You'll find grills, large tents, and huge kites to mark social gatherings. You may want to be prepared to compete on this level.
- You can bring into the festival without issue the following items: food, soft drinks, water, coolers, blankets/tarps, chairs, Frisbees, hacky sacks, and tents.
- You can not bring into the festival the following items: glass containers, alcohol (enforcement varies, but they often confiscate), and illegal substances.
- It really is a good idea to bring water and arrive well-hydrated. The sun and the crowds can get very hot, and the lines for water can get long. Not to mention you've got to pay for their water. Plus, if you're thinking you may have a few beers (why not?), you'll want to take good care of yourself w/ some extra water.
- If you do get overheated, you can always cool off a bit at the Buckingham Fountain, which is near the south end of the festival. If there's any kind of breeze, one side will act like an urban sprinkler, and you can cool off there. Another option is visiting the fountain in Millennium Park at the northeast corner of Monroe and Michigan. There's always room for a few more people to splash through there.
- It's about a 10 to 15 minute walk or 10-minute cab ride from Ogilvie and Union Stations, and the festival is very close to the el. The Metra usually has reduced weekend ride passes, but they don't count Fridays as the weekend.
- Blues clubs, like Buddy Guy's Legends, have some good sessions during the day and typical good night acts. There are lines around the clock at Buddy Guy's, but sometimes you can hit the perfect window and get right in. Other clubs around town often feature festival players at night. You can often find a repeat of the sets you witnessed in Grant Park earlier in the day.
- Admission is FREE to all Grant Park events.