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Joliet Blues Week to debut this month

The sounds of blues will takeover downtown Joliet during Joliet Blues Week this month.

The events, put on by the Joliet City Center Partnership, Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park and Rialto Square Theatre, will feature a plethora of performances.

Lauren Las, marketing and events manager for Joliet City Center Partnership, said an idea came to mind as they were planning for a third Blues and Brews on 66 and found out the Rialto Square Theatre’s blues show and the Joliet Blues Festival take place in the same 7-11 day span.

“We thought it would be nice to put them all together,” Las said.

Beginning this Friday, the Rialto Theatre presents Tajmo: The Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ Band, the Grammy Award-winning collaboration between two blues artists. At the show, they are expected to perform songs from their collaborative album, called “TajMo.”

Festivities get underway at 7:30 p.m. with the opening act performance by Jontavious Willis, a blues musician hailing from Greenville, Georgia.

Tickets to the show range anywhere from $49 to $125, plus additional fees may apply.

On Saturday, Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park intends to host its inaugural Joliet Blues Festival.

“I hope they love it as much we’ve had putting it together,” said Debbie Green, development director for Will-Joliet Bicentennial Park. “We’ve gotten a good response.”

The lineup includes performances by The Mike Wheeler Band, The Hepkats, “Big Dog” Mercer, Mojo Morganfield—Son of Muddy Waters and Jamiah Rogers.

Concessions and food trucks will be available during the festival.

“You can bring your chairs and blanket to stake out your spot in front of the stage,” Green said.

Admission is $10 in advance or $15 the day of the event. Festivities begin at 4 p.m.

Proceeds generated during the event will support Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and Theatre programming.

On Aug. 18, Joliet City Center Partnership and the Joliet Park Foundation will present their third annual Blues and Brews on 66.

It will showcase performances by The Nick Moss Band with Dennis Gruenling, Dave Weld and The Imperial Flames, T-Bird Huck and Jonathan “Boogie” Long.

“There’s tremendous blues history in Joliet,” said Bob Lees, treasurer for the Joliet Park Foundation.

Food trucks will be available during the event, as well.

“Our goal is to bring people to Joliet and show them how much fun they can have in Joliet and to showcase businesses,” Las said.

Admission to the event is free, except access to the craft brew area ranges anywhere from $5-45. Proceeds will support the Joliet Park Foundation and its efforts to improve the parks at five schools. Festivities start at 3 p.m.

Las hopes people will enjoy Joliet Blues Week.

“It can be huge in bringing people to Joliet,” she said.