BluesStream: A Chicago/Kalamazoo Blues Party – Pay What You Can Virtual Festival

Out of Favor Boys Trio
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Pay-what-you-can BluesStream: A Chicago/Kalamazoo Blues Party

New six-hour virtual festival airs Sunday, August 30 

Performers at the six-hour virtual festival

·         New virtual Blues festival features Chicago’s Billy BranchJohnny BurginJoanna Connor and Dave Specter, among others, plus Kalamazoo’s AMays and BlueLarry McCray Trio and Out of Favor Boys Trio

·         Pay-what-you-can benefits the musicians plus local and national non-profit organizations

 BluesStream: A Chicago/Kalamazoo Blues Party, a new six-hour celebration of Blues music, culture, and history, will combine performances by top Midwest and Chicago Blues talent along with sharing great stories of Blues history, streaming live Sunday, August 30, from 2-8pm Chicago Blues Time (Central).   Proudly presented by the new Chicago Blues Network in conjunction with the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, the BluesStream festival is pay-what-you-can, with a virtual tip jar inviting donations to benefit the musicians and related local and national non-profit organizations. 

Blues Stream poster

Tune in at any time throughout the BluesStream broadcast August 30 via the channel of your choice:

Facebook Live:; YouTube Live:; or Facebook: 

Larry McCray

Representing Chicago in concert and conversation will be Blues Masters such as Billy BranchJohnny BurginJoanna ConnorKatherine DavisBilly FlynnFruteland JacksonJohn KattkeDave Specter, and Harlan Terson, while Kalamazoo-based headliners include Larry McCrayAMays and Blue, and Out of Favor Boys Trio. Chicago Blues Network Music Director Dave Specter and Chicago Blues Network Senior Faculty member Billy Branch, along with singer/storyteller Fruteland Jackson, will take viewers through a history of American Blues, from cotton fields and work farms to Chicago and now the world. Pastor Phil Jackson, executive director and founder of the Firehouse Community Arts Center in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, will focus attention on the entire Chicago Blues community, where so many musicians play and live.

AMays and Blue

“The BluesStream virtual festival allows Chicago Blues lovers all over the world to experience the unique joy of Chicago Blues we have all been so short on because of the pandemic. We are thrilled to be connecting Chicago Blues fans from Japan, Australia. Norway, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, all of Michigan and the rest of the U.S. with our Chicago Blues Masters and are so thankful to the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association for working together with us,” said Scott Weil, owner, Chicago Blues Network.  

“The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association is proud to carry on its mission of ‘keeping the blues alive’ through this newBluesStream music festival, the greatest virtual blues party of the season. We will bring these two communities together that are both rich in Blues music heritage and history. We welcome the opportunity to expose new audiences to our talent and also the important work of the Black Arts and Cultural Center of Kalamazoo,” added Mike Depoian, President, Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association.  

The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association (KVBA) was formed in 1995 to educate, promote and preserve the rich history of this African American art form. A 100% volunteer based non-profit organization, the KVBA also provides educational programs such as Blues in School and through generous donors an annual scholarship program.

Pay-what-you-can model benefits charities local and national

The BluesStream: A Chicago/Kalamazoo Blues Party is intentionally ‘pay-what-you-can’ so as to not limit access to anyone seeking a live concert experience during this tenuous time.  For those viewers who are able to contribute even $1.00, a ‘virtual tip’ jar located at provides compensation for the performers in addition to supporting non-profit partner organizations, including the Firehouse Community Art Center in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Under the direction of Pastor Phil Jackson, its mission is to interrupt the cycle of violence among youth and young adults in North Lawndale through the power of the arts. Nationally, monies also benefit The Blues Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for Performing Blues Artists.  Tips generated by the BluesStreamconcert will also benefit the Black Arts and Cultural Center of Kalamazoo,  which develops potential and creativity in Blacks in the Kalamazoo area, advances the awareness of Black artistic ability, helps to preserve Black cultural heritage and enhance interactions among diverse groups.

At Home Chicago Blues – Fruteland Jackson credit Peter Hurley

About the Chicago Blues Network

The new Chicago Blues Network is a global community of interest for the Chicago Blues art form. Under the leadership of longtime Blues fan and student Scott Weil, Chicago Blues Network connects Chicago Blues musicians with women and men of all ages around the world who have a passion for Chicago Blues to further the study and appreciation of this urban music discipline.  Chicago Blues Network aims to be the destination for all things Chicago Blues, actively supporting musicians, record labels, clubs, festivals, foundations, neighborhoods and individuals. Among its programming are live Boot Camps, web-based training, live streamed Chicago Blues Trading 4s shows on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, a bBlues Note weekly blues letter, podcasts, and social media. More information about Chicago Blues Network  and all of its pay-what-you-can concert programming.

Photos are courtesy of Chicago Blues Network unless otherwise noted.


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