RiverEdge Park’s 2023 summer season kicks off on June 16 with the star-studded 26th Blues on the Fox Festival, wraps up Labor Day weekend with REO Speedwagon, with major acts like Styx, Flo Rida and Rick Springfield, amazing tribute shows, the budget-friendly Downtown Alive! series, and the City of Aurora’s free 4th of July Celebration in between.
Tickets are on sale now to all shows, many with an early bird discount if tickets are purchased by June 1. For tickets and information, visit riveredgeaurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, stop by RiverEdge’s satellite box office, Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and until show time on show days, or purchase day-of at RiverEdge Park. All tickets are general admission. Fees not included.
Blues on the Fox: Day One
Friday, June 16
Tickets: $15 early bird; $25 starting June 1
Ruthie Foster Band (7 p.m.)
Blues on the Fox opens with Ruthie Foster, who just won the 2023 Blues Music Award – Top Contemporary Female Artist from the Blues Foundation. She is a four-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who mixes a wide palette of American song forms, from gospel and blues to jazz, folk and soul. Described by Rolling Stone as “pure magic to watch and hear,” her vocal talent was elevated in worship services at her community church. Drawing influence from legendary acts like Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, Foster developed a unique sound unable to be contained within a single genre. Her newest album is Healing. ruthiefoster.com
Jimmie Vaughan (9 p.m.)
“When I talk about country and blues, they’re the same thing,” four-time Grammy winner Jimmie Vaughan says. “Muddy Waters and Hank Williams, Webb Pierce and Jimmy Reed. It’s American music. I’m tired of trying to pigeonhole everything. I want to bring it together; it comes from the same place.” When the Texas native first heard songs like Phil Upchurch’s “You Can’t Sit Down,” The Nightcaps’ “Wine, Wine, Wine” and B.B. King’s hit songs in the early 1960s, he knew he had found his music. It’s been a constant quest to play the blues ever since, whether it was in early 1970s Austin bands like Storm and then the Fabulous Thunderbirds, later with brother Stevie Ray Vaughan on their Family Style album, and on his own releases. jimmievaughan.com
Blues on the Fox: Day Two
Saturday, June 17
Gates open at 2 p.m.
Joey J. Saye (3 p.m.)
“I attended Blues on the Fox in 2014 and got to see Jimmie Vaughan,” recalls Joey J. Saye, who grew up in Aurora, home of the festival. “My friend knew him personally so I got to meet him backstage where he shared stories for an hour or so. It was a life changing event.” Hearing Vaughan, Muddy Waters and Memphis Minnie’s music ignited his passion for the blues and he traded in his athletic gear for his guitar. Today, Saye is making a name for himself throughout Chicagoland, all over the US, and abroad. jjsayemusic.com
Mud Morganfield (5 p.m.)
Muddy Waters or Mud Morganfield? It’s almost impossible to tell. But nothing would please the eldest son of legendary bluesman Muddy Waters more than hearing people say he sounds just like his late father. Blues fans were introduced to Mud at a tribute concert to his father in 2007, but his Chicago Blues Festival performance that same year brought him instant recognition. His albums are Son Of The Seventh Son, For Pops and They Call Me Mud. His newest Delmark Records CD, Portrait, comprises the entirety of Son Of The Seventh Son, plus two new tracks, “Praise Him” and “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”
Kenny Neal (7 p.m.)
Kenny Neal and his Big 7 Piece Band were the band EVERYONE was talking about after their performance at the 2022 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Neal, a native of Baton Rouge, is a second generation Bluesman and one of the strongest modern proponents of Louisiana Swamp Blues. His Dad, a harmonica player, played with Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo, who gave Kenny his first harmonica at age 3. At 13, Kenny started playing in his dad’s band. At 17, Neal was recruited by no other than Buddy Guy to play bass in his band. In 2017, Neal’s Bloodline was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album, with Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Contemporary Blues Artist to his BMA collection. He was again awarded Best Contemporary Blues Artist in 2019. His latest release, Straight from The Heart in 2022, includes collaborations with Grammy-winner Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Tito Jackson and Rockin’ Dopsie. kennyneal.net
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (9 p.m.)
Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram just won his fourth consecutive Blues Music Award from the Blues Foudnation for Top Contemporary Male Artist. He has become the defining blues voice of his generation since the release of Kingfish, his Grammy-nominated 2019 Alligator Records debut, and 662, his 2021 Grammy-winning sophomore album. From his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi to stages around the world, the 23-year-old has headlined three U.S. tours, performed at Australia’s largest music fest, amazed fans across Europe and the UK, and opened for The Rolling Stones in London’s Hyde Park. He has also performed with Vampire Weekend, Jason Isbell and Buddy Guy, with whom he appeared on Austin City Limits. His first album Kingfish debuted on the Billboard Blues Chart at #1 and remained on the chart for 91 weeks. In addition to receiving a Grammy nomination, Kingfish was named the #1 Best Blues Album Of The Year by MOJO and #1 on Living Blues magazine’s Top 50 Albums Of The Year Radio Chart. As soon as 662 dropped in 2021, fans, critics, and radio stations showered the album with praise. It also debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album, the Blues Music Award for Best Blues Album, topped the DownBeat and Living Blues critics’ polls, and was selected by MOJO as the Best Blues Album Of The Year. Since his 2019 debut, Kingfish has been nominated for nine Blues Music Awards and won them all. christonekingfishingram.com
RiverEdge Park, located at 360 N. Broadway St., in downtown Aurora, right across the street from Metra’s Aurora Transportation Center.