Blues, Brews & BBQ boasts new twists, stellar standards for 2022

  • Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners perform during Blues, Brews & BBQ in McHenry in 2021. The 2022 fest will be Aug. 19-21 at Petersen Park, McHenry.

    Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners perform during Blues, Brews & BBQ in McHenry in 2021. The 2022 fest will be Aug. 19-21 at Petersen Park, McHenry. Courtesy of Cynthia Wolf/Wolf Wordsmithing

Updated 4/8/2022 3:23 PM

A Delmark recording artist, an International Blues Challenge semifinalist and a Chicago Blues Hall of Famer.

Add to that a Led Zeppelin tribute band playing that group's finest blues, a Rolling Stones tribute band, an up-and-coming local band gaining a name for its rockin' blues and, of course, the perennially most cheerful of blues bands around, and you've got the lineup for this year's Blues, Brews & BBQ -- though not necessarily in that order.


This year marks the 11th annual Blues, Brews & BBQ. Coordinated by McHenry Area Rotary with D.C. Cobb's-McHenry as premier sponsor, it will take place Friday through Sunday, Aug. 19-21, at Petersen Park, McHenry.

"We've got something for everyone this year," said Don Tonyan, co-chairman of the event along with fellow Rotarian Denis Buch. "It's a mix of high-energy favorites from past years along with some bands that are all-new to our fest."

Kicking things off at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, as they have for each Blues, Brews & BBQ since 2012, will be the John Todd Band. Jimmy Nick -- who not only made the International Blues Challenge semifinals in 2013 and 2016, but also is an Illinois Blues Challenge champion -- takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, the music starts at 4 p.m. with Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire. Lewis has performed across Europe and is a regularly featured headliner on the Chicago blues scene. After her band plays, Led Zeppelin tribute band Kashmir takes the stage at 6:30 p.m.

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Hot Rocks follows at 9 p.m. And, as Hot Rocks pays tribute to the Stones, the audience will be reminded of how Blues pioneers such as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and John Lee Hooker heavily influenced the Stones' vocal and instrumental stylings.

Those attending Sunday will enjoy the rockin' blues of Delta Rising at 1 p.m. and the Blues Hall of Fame-stature sounds of the Mike Wheeler Band at 3 p.m. While Todd, Nick and Wheeler have played the fest before, Lewis, Kashmir, Hot Rocks and Delta Rising are new to the Blues, Brews & BBQ stage.

"We believe both the blues purists and those who enjoy the more rockin' side of the blues will find reasons to love this year's fest," said Diana Mark, lineup chairwoman. "I love it because it's all for a great cause."

The money raised at the music, food and craft beer fest supports numerous humanitarian and student leadership programs. In fact, the McHenry Area Rotary has provided $63,415 to 15 grant recipients since last fall, with the vast majority of those funds coming from past Blues, Brews & BBQ proceeds.


Tickets are available online now at Cost is $10 per person per day in advance or $15 at the gate. A three-day weekend pass is available for $20 now or $25 at the gate.

VIP tickets are $100 each. These provide single-day admission and six beer or wine tickets per purchaser, plus admission to the VIP area, where a selection of food will be provided and beverages available. VIP tickets also are a perk of sponsorship at the $2,000 level and up. Sponsors are needed. Details are available at

Members of the McHenry Area Rotary Club, which also coordinates Rotary Secret Santa, meet at noon Thursdays at Buddyz Pizzeria on Green Street, McHenry. Anyone interested is welcome to attend. For general club information, send an email to

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