Chicago Could Lose the Blues
Blues songs have told Chicago's story for generations, but a recent piece in Crain's Chicago Business argues the city has been unwilling to return the favor. Besides being home to some of the greatest blues musicians, it's also the site of a living musical culture that could be a boon to the city. "[T]o think of Chicago blues as merely a historic legacy is to overlook its worldwide following in the here and now—and to miss out on a tourism and economic development opportunity that's pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into other cities," Crain’s argues.
Compared to cities like Memphis, St. Louis, and New Orleans, which have built museums and tourism campaigns around their musical heritages, Chicago is lagging behind—both generally and with the blues specifically. "[W]hen tourists land in Chicago seeking a place to learn about the blues, they're pretty much on their own," Crain's writes. While Chicago is host to a major weekend Blues Festival every year, Crain's sees this as not nearly enough. "You'll find no museums here. No statues, no official tours, no markers of the vital clubs where the music gestated on the South and West sides," Crain's writes. These clubs are largely unknown even to local Chicagoans, but they have a powerful story to tell and great music inside.