Great Performers of Illinois Weekend


Features Free Concert Honoring Buddy Guy with Headliner Jimmie Vaughan
Duranguense-Style Mexican Pop Band Skándalo Musical Opens Festival

More than 50 performers from throughout the state will be showcased at Great Performers of Illinois, a free weekend of entertainment taking place Friday, July 18, through Sunday, July 20, in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Presented by the Illinois Arts Council, the Chicago Office of Tourism, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the third annual celebration of the arts unique to Illinois includes pop, rock, blues, Latin, folk, classical, and spoken word performances, plus family-friendly entertainment such as square dancing, children’s activities, and storytelling.

“The arts are all around us in Illinois,” said Shirley R. Madigan, Illinois Arts Council Chairman. “Showcasing these many gifted performers in a world-class venue such as Millennium Park truly shines the spotlight on our state’s rich and diverse cultural resources. The Illinois Arts Council is proud to support Illinois’ creative talent and to be a part of the Great Performers of Illinois festival.”

A special concert on July 20 honoring Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy will close the three-day festival. Guy, an internationally acclaimed blues guitarist, five-time Grammy Award-winner, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will receive the first Great Performer of Illinois award for his outstanding contributions to popular music and American culture. The concert, coinciding with the July 22 release of Guy’s new album “Skin Deep,” will feature performances by Jimmie Vaughan and the Tilt A Whirl Band and Lou Ann Barton, one of the country’s premier blues vocalists. Other special guest artists will pay tribute to Guy at this free event beginning at 8pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

“We are presenting the first Great Performer of Illinois award to a blues giant who has had a world- wide impact on music and culture and brought international attention to Chicago as the home of the blues,” said Lois Weisberg, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. “It is fitting that he is being honored at a festival that brings together the best talent in the state because he is one of the all-time greats.”

Aurora-based Skándalo Musical will open the festival on July 18 at 5pm with a concert featuring their Duranguense Latin music that has taken the nation by storm. This upbeat Mexican dance genre with a country twist has dominated the Latin Billboard charts for the last several years. Inspired by the state of Durango, Mexico, it first gained prominence in and around Chicago, which has the largest U.S. population of Duranguenses.

For more information about Great Performers of Illinois, including a complete schedule of events, call 312/742-1168 or visit