The Congress Theater may be huge, but I still went into the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival Saturday afternoon wondering how the festival's organizers were going to fit everything they had promised into an indoor space. Let me assure you, each inch of the theater was utilized, with music pouring out of every nook and cranny. Still, I never felt cramped, and concert-goers were allowed to easily wander around the different stages and booths with ease. With two stages of music plus bands playing in the balcony, a comedy troupe, marching band, delicious food, art and jewelry vendors, and dancers, there was always something entertaining happening at every moment to satisfy each member of the diverse crowd. Best of all? The festival was 100 percent independent, meaning you weren't bombarded with banners for cell phone companies, beer companies, or electronics stores everywhere you turned. One thing is for certain: CBGB is not just a Manhattan thing anymore.
See additional pictures from the festival after the jump.
(The Avett Brothers pictured above)
Tangleweed playing in the balcony:
Ha Ha Tonka: