Joliet has the blues and loves it – Shaw Local

Dave Estep was at the famous Indianapolis blues bar Slippery Noodle Inn on Friday and at the Joliet Blues Festival on Saturday.

“The music brought me here,” said Estep, a self-described music and blues resident of New Lenox, as he waited for the first act to begin. “I go to a lot of concert halls.”

It was Estep’s first visit to the Joliet Blues Festival, and he’s the kind of person event organizers say they attract – blues enthusiasts looking for a place to listen to their music or play their music. .

It was the fourth blues festival at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, and it’s an event that’s getting more and more attention, said Karl Maurer, a blues musician who books bands for the show.

“When we started, a few hundred people showed up,” Maurer said. “We are expecting over a thousand people today.”

More than 1,200 people came, which was the biggest turnout yet for the Joliet Blues Festival, an outdoor event in the park along the Des Plaines River.

“I think it’s great,” said Joliet’s Kenneth Moore, who grew up in Chicago passing through clubs like the Checkerboard Lounge that he was too young to enter at the time. “I’m going to have a good time. I’m a blues fan, always have been.

Performers at the Joliet Blues Festival included the Laurie Morvan Band, headlining with national audiences and local roots.

Laurie Morvan now lives in Long Beach, Calif., but was thrilled to be back home for her performance.

“I’m super excited about this event,” Morvan said shortly after arriving amid greetings from family and friends. “It’s like a big homecoming for me. I grew up in New Lennox, Joliet and Plainfield.

She graduated from Plainfield Central High School.

Other artists at the Blues Festival were the Cash Box Kings, Nigel Mack and the Blues Attack, and Bill Grady – all based in Chicago but playing nationally or throughout the Midwest.

Maurer, whose band The Hepcats played at the Joliet event, said he tries to book bands and artists who don’t usually play in Joliet. The job is getting easier because the Joliet Blues Festival is getting noticed, he said.

“People want to play here,” Maurer said.

Since the Blues Festival only lasts one night and includes four bands, Maurer said it’s important to bring artists to Joliet who have never been heard in the city before.

Most attendees are local, but the Blues Festival attracts a wider audience, said Bicentennial Park general manager Lori Carmine.

“We actually get a lot of people from outside the area,” Carmine said. “We’re getting people from out of state, a couple from out of country.”

Visitors from other countries typically make the Blues Festival part of a Route 66 tour, she said.

The old jail in Joliet is another stop on the Route 66 tour, and this year’s blues festival took place less than a week before an appearance by Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi at the jail on Friday for Blues Brother Con, a two-day event which includes a screening of “The Blues Brothers” on Saturday.

The Joliet Blues Festival, Carmine said, is “a nice, laid-back environment” where people tend to come and go throughout the 7 a.m. event, bringing their own blankets and chairs.

“You can sit back and relax and have fun,” said Norveea Cleark of Joliet. “You meet a lot of people.”

Steve and Sherry Kessler from Joliet came last year, and it was the first event they attended at Bicentennial Park.

“We were just going to stick around for a couple groups,” Steve Kessler said. “We stayed the whole stay.”

The music brought them back and, Sherry Kessler said, “It’s beautiful here.