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Chain Blues Fest at ICC

Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys featuring Westside Andy will perform at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at the Indian Crossing Casino as the iopening performance of the Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival. Chuck Ryan Photography

ICC hosts annual event Oct. 6-7

The 12th annual Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6-7, at the historic Indian Crossing Casino dance hall.

Located at E1171 County Trunk Q at the channel between Columbia and Lime Kiln lakes near Waupaca, Indian Crossing Casino (ICC) was built in 1925.

Over the years, the dance hall has hosted such notable performers as Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown, Beach Boys, Everly Brothers, Woody Herman, Neil Young, Bobby Vinton, Herman’s Hermits and Ricky Nelson.

This year is no exception to ICC’s tradition of bringing notable bands to the area.


The weekend opens at 7 p.m. Friday with Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys featuring Westside Andy.

Born and raised in Chicago, the Rev has been playing the blues since 1971 when he first saw Freddy King play.

After 15 years in the Navy, Rev Raven moved to Milwaukee where he began a long friendship and collaboration with Madison Slim, long-time harmonica player for Jimmy Rogers.

At 9 p.m. Friday, Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames will take the stage.

The band plays blues rock, funk, boogie and Soul. Their blues originals are classic in nature, the standards are revitalized with striking three-part vocal harmony,

Their album, “Nightwalk,” earned a 2023 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album and 2022 Blues Blast nominations for Contemporary Blues Album and Best Slide Guitarist of the Year. They were winners of the Windy City Blues Challenge in 2020.

Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials will close the Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7.


Michael Murphy and the Men of Blues perform at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Murphy has been writing and singing for most of his life, and has grown into a powerful vocalist and instrumentalist. He is most noted for his ability to connect with his audience.

At 5 p.m., Alex Wilson will play a variety of blues styles, everything from sweet Beale Street blues to West coast swing, from hard Texas grinders to stone cold Chicago grooves. He is joined by his uncle on drums and his brother on bass.

The band won the 2007 Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award for Blues Group/Artist of the Year.

The Mighty Ms. Erica and the Sound Production perform at 7 p.m.

Erica started singing at the age of 2 and was in a church choir by the age of 4. She moved from school performances and talent shows to becoming a vocalist for such bands as Phase Two, Darnell Kimbo, Misfits Blues, Brew City Rhythm and Blues band and The Blues Disciples.

She has performed at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Paramount Blues Challenge in Memphis and the Chicago Blues Festival.

Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials will close the Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival at 9 p.m. Saturday.

They have played the Chicago Blues Festival multiple times and have appeared at The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, the San Diego Blues Festival, the Pennsylvania Blues Festival and dozens of other festivals around the country.

Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials took home the Living Blues Award for Best Live Performer in 2011, 2012 and 2013. They won the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year in 2007 and 2009.


Tickets for Friday are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Saturday tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Weekend Pass is $30 in advance, $35 at the door.

Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.ChainOLakesBluesFestival.com or by calling 715-258-7343 until noon Friday, Oct. 6.

Food service will be available during the festival at ICC.

The event will include complimentary shuttle service from Waupaca area lodging facilities to and from the festival.

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