The Chicago Blues Festival is an annual event held in June, that features three days of performances by top-tier blues musicians, both old favorites and the up-and-coming. It is hosted by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (formerly the Mayor's Office of Special Events), and always occurs in early June. The event has always taken place at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, adjacent to the Lake Michigan waterfront east of the Loop in Chicago.
Tommy Castro (born April 15, 1955, San Jose, California, United States) is an American blues, R&B and rock guitarist and singer. He has been recording since the mid-1990s. His music has taken him from local stages to national and international touring. His popularity was marked by his winning the 2008 Blues Music Award for Entertainer of the Year. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Castro plays "Memphis soul-drenched R&B…top-of-the-line blues." Blurt[who?] added, "Castro has a soulful voice, searing guitar and is an excellent songwriter and vocalist. If you close your eyes you will be convinced that you are listening to Otis Redding singing in 1967…tremendous."
Otis Rush (born April 29, 1935) is a blues guitarist and singer. His distinctive guitar style features a slow-burning sound and long bent notes. With similar qualities to Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and was an influence on many musicians, including Michael Bloomfield, Peter Green and Eric Clapton.
Rush is left-handed and, unlike many other left-handed guitarists, plays a left-handed instrument strung upside-down, with the low E string at the bottom. He has played often with the little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for positioning. It is widely believed that this contributes to his distinctive sound. He has a wide-ranging, powerful tenor voice.