The Crossroads Blues Festival marks the ninth anniversary of this great event, now in it's fifth year in Rockford at the beautiful and private Lyran Park. The theme of this year's event is Guitarzapalooza, where each band on the Main Stage features a killer guitar player as part of the act. Lyran Park is at 4781 South Bend Road in Rockford, just south of Rockford airport. Plenty of free parking is available.
Two headlining acts grace the event. Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter will be the cleanup act at 8 PM. Both musicians are on guitar and Ledbetter is the blues world's top young male vocalist. They just won the international Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Album, too. It will be an incredible set. Also headlining at 6 PM is Toronzo Cannon, the hottest guitar player in Chicago. Toronzo is an Alligator Records recording artist and has been nominated for many awards. He tours internationally and is in high demand. Lauren Mitchell is featured at 4 PM; she is a renowned soul blues singer who tours all over the US to rave reviews. Her special guest guitarist in none other than Lurrie Bell, a Chicago guitar legend and famous son of the legendary Carrie Bell. The 4 PM time slot features the great singer and guitar player Andrew Duncanson and the fantastic Josh Stimmel also on guitar. They are part of Champaign's own Kilborn Alley Blues Band who amaze every blues fan who has had the pleasure to see them. Opening the day is NYC based guitarist and musician Dave Fields.He and his band will rock the festival out beginning at noon.
In between acts we have four other super musical acts to make sure the action is non-stop. At 1:30 PM are the youth act Riding Atlas who were Crossroads entry into the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase. At 3:30 PM we have Chicago harmonica master Joe Filisko returning for another outstanding harmonica workshop. Kids 10 and under even get a free harmonica! At 5:30 Wheatbread Johnson will reprise the Blues in the Schools program he conducted this past year for Crossroads a total of 57 times for the Headstart Program in Rockford plus a number of other times in area schools. Get ready to be schooled! At 7:30 PM Warren Beck returns with his powerful vocals and great barrelhouse piano. Warren represented Crossroads as part of the IBC Solo/Duo competition in Memphis.
About 30 types of beer and wine will be available for sale at only $4 each. Pop and water are only a dollar. Nine food vendors will provide a great assortment of tasty treats to sample at affordable prices. Many merchandise vendors will be on site, too. Every dollar Crossroads raises with this event is used to support their Blues in the Schools Program. Crossroads is a non-profit and have now done 338 programs for over 68,000 students at no cost to area schools over the last 16 years.
No pets, no coolers and no outside food and beverages please. Handicapped accessible. Located on the Kishwaukee River in a beautiful and shaded natural amphitheater. Located just east of Kishwaukee Road, just south of the river, and a few miles west of the intersection of IL Highway 251 and Beltline Road on South Bend Road.
Advanced tickets are available online and at a number of local stores and venues:
Rockford - Woodman’s Market / Valle International Fresh Market / Culture Shock Records and Clothing / Randee's Music / Guzzardo Performance Music / The Lyran Society / Just Goods Fair Trade Store Loves Park-Hope and Anchor English Pub / CD Source Machesney Park - Pig Minds Brewing / Beloit at Grand Avenue Pub Freeport - Logan’s Bar and Grill Winnebago- Snyder Pharmacy, Oregon- Snyder Pharmacy, Mount Morris - Maggie’s Idle Hour, Byron - Snyder Pharmacy / Felkers Market, New Millford - The New Mill Tap / The Filling Station / Lazy Bonz Liquors.
Tickets are also available online at: CrossroadsBluesSociety.com or by mail order with a SASE at: Crossroads Blues Society, P.O. Box 840, Byron, IL 61010. Call 779-537-4006 for more information.