For Summer Music Heat During the Chicago Winter: Combine Old and New Schools, Rub Together Vigorously

Share Article

Independent Producers Defy Genres and Strike a Chord for Charity with the Inaugural Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival.

The Congress Theater, in conjunction with newly-formed KingTello Presents, is proud to announce the inaugural Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival ( While rooted in the foot-stomping influences of bluegrass and blues, the Festival will transport the concertgoer through the genre-defying evolution of music today. The one-day event will serve as a tribute to two schools of music that continue to shape and inspire contemporary rock, jamband, funk, folk, roots, Americana, and indie cultures.

Against the backdrop of an official Chicago landmark and one of the last of the classic "movie palaces," fans will be treated to a party with a purpose, featuring 2 stages and 16 bands for less than the typical price of the headliners alone. "Newgrass" legend and longtime Jerry Garcia collaborator David Grisman and his David Grisman Quintet will be sharing the headlining duties with surging festival sensations The Avett Brothers and their massive following of rowdy devotees. The Avett Brothers have recently teamed up with legendary producer Rick Rubin, and signed with American/Columbia Records, home of Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, and The Black Crowes.

Tickets for the festival go on sale on at an early-bird price of $31 this week through the event's website (,, and

The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Fest will offer a musical reprieve from the merciless Chicago Winter by adapting elements of a summer music festival to the historic and intimate indoor setting. The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Fest stands alone as the only music festival experience offered during the otherwise depressing Chicago winter. In addition to 12 hours of 2 stages worth of nonstop music, the day's activities will also include Chicago's largest live-art exhibition and indoor gallery, charitable raffles, an improv comedy showcase, and one of the Midwest's leading alternative DJs.

The main stage will feature the co-headliners, as well as festival favorites Ha Ha Tonka, Chicago Blues giant Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Chicago alt-country mainstays Dollar Store and Majors Junction, and country's Next Big Star Competition winner Billy Childers. The participation of artists from both Alligator Records and Bloodshot Records marks a rare collaboration between two independent Chicago labels universally considered leaders in their respective genres.

The opening spot on the main stage will feature the winner of "LAST BANJO STANDING," an online contest that will scour Chicagoland to find the top bluegrass/blues artist.

The Pavilion Stage will feature some of the best musicians from the local Chicago music scene, as well as Nashville bluegrass veterans including Blue Mother Tupelo, Blackdog, How Far to Austin, Mike Mangione, Cobalt & the Hired Guns, Lindsey O'Brien & Friends, Jessica Lee, and Blue Room Hero

And while the festival will serve to break a band or two, festivalgoers will get to save a heart. A portion of each $31 ticket will be donated to the Saving tiny Hearts Society (, a non-profit organization that raises money for grossly under-funded, crucial, life-saving research of congenital heart defects (CHD), America's #1 birth defect. Nearly one of every 125 babies born in America each year is affected by a Congenital Heart Defect.

About the Congress Theater:

The Congress Theater ( is an official Chicago City Landmark and one of the largest and most unique entertainment venues in the entire city. Over a quarter-million music fans visit the Congress each year to see bands such as The Shins, Korn, Prince, The Roots, The Killers, Ludacris or Dave Chappelle in one the last of the city's classic movie 'palaces.'

Built in 1926 and designed by Friedstein & Co, the 4,000 capacity theatre features a mix of architectural styles, including neo-classical and Italian Baroque, with an elaborate domed auditorium covered with decorations in stone, terra-cotta, and plaster. In addition to the main theater, the venue also features a spacious four-story Entrance Pavilion, Skybox Suites and private meeting rooms and exhibition areas. The theater is located in the burgeoning Logan Square/Bucktown/Wicker Park area, the seat of the artistic and music communities in the Midwest. It sits perfectly situated, in close proximity to the immense variety of ethic and social communities that it serves, just blocks from the 90/94 expressway, Metra and CTA blue line trains.

About the Saving Tiny Hearts Society:

The Saving tiny Hearts Society's mission is to raise money for grossly under-funded, crucial, life-saving research of congenital heart defects (CHD), America's #1 birth defect. Nearly 1 of every 125 babies born in America each year is affected by a Congenital Heart Defect…

The Saving tiny Hearts Society is the only organization in the country that was formed for the sole purpose of raising funds for congenital heart defect research with 100% of general donations going directly to funding this research. There are no paid employees and we are run entirely by dedicated volunteers. Furthermore, the organization's overhead costs are fully funded by our Board of Directors and directed donations.

The Saving tiny Hearts Society has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and a contribution to the organization may be deductible as a charitable contribution.

About KingTello Presents:

KingTello Presents is a recently formed alliance of independent Chicago producers and promoters aimed at revitalizing the city's long-standing tradition of independent event production. Working in collaboration with the Congress Theater, KingTello Presents will fight on behalf of independent promoters large and small as long as corporate conglomerates threaten to monopolize a live music landscape rich in tradition and variety. KingTello Presents will represent the voice of choice.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Michael Raspatello
Visit website