News - Kane County

Blues on the Fox returns to Aurora after two-year hiatus because of pandemic

Chicago’s own Shemekia Copeland performed Friday night at the Blues on the Fox festival in Aurora.

For Aurora resident Scott Harvey, attending the Blues on the Fox festival has been a tradition.

So he felt something was missing in his life after the festival was canceled the last two years because of the pandemic.

“We set this aside on our calendars every year,” Harvey said. “It’s Father’s Day weekend and we make a big deal out of it. My wife and I have been married 30 years and going to hear live music is something that we love to do together.”

Harvey and thousands of other people were at Thomas J. Weisner RiverEdge Park in Aurora on June 17 watching Chicago’s Shemekia Copeland and Kenny Wayne Shepherd perform during the return of Blues on the Fox, now in its 24th year. The last Blues on the Fox festival had been in 2019.

The second day of the festival featured Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy, as well as two other Chicago musicians, Billy Branch and Melody Angel, on June 18. Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers also were among those scheduled to perform.

Terry Turlek of Downers Grove met Copeland after her set and had her autograph this year’s Blues on the Fox poster.

Thousands of people were at Thomas J. Weisner RiverEdge Park in Aurora Friday night watching Chicago’s own Shemekia Copeland and Kenny Wayne Shepherd perform during the return of Blues on the Fox, now in its 24th year. The last Blues on the Fox festival had been in 2019.

“Every year I come to this festival and every year I’ve been buying this poster,” Turlek said. “This is the first time I’ve had it autographed by one of the artists. So I’m going back tomorrow and hopefully I’ll get more artist autographs.”

Although Chicago is known as the blues capital of the world, Aurora also has contributed significantly to the history of blues music. In 1937 and 1938, Sonny Boy Williamson, Henry Townsend and other notable Bluebird artists made recordings at the Leland Hotel in downtown Aurora.

After a two-year break, Dave Glynn was happy to be back on stage June 17 announcing the acts at the festival.

“It was total adrenaline,” he said. “It was just such a great feeling to look out and see a huge crowd.”

Glynn has been involved in the festival almost since its inception in 1997. He is part of the nonprofit organization Fox Valley Music Foundation, which operates The Venue in downtown Aurora.

The Venue hosted a Blues on the Fox after party on June 18 with Branch, Wayne Baker Brooks and others.

Coinciding with this year’s Blues on the Fox festival, the city of Aurora hosted the grand opening of its new Wilder Park Promenade with a free event, Party on the Promenade, on June 18. Wilder Park is located on the west side of the Fox River at 350 N. River St.