Detroit Music Weekend to honor blues guitarist John Lee Hooker

Get ready for the ‘Best Blues Fest in the Midwest’ this July

John Lee Hooker at the Long Beach Blues Festival in 1997. - MASAHIRO SUMORI/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Masahiro Sumori/ Wikimedia Commons
John Lee Hooker at the Long Beach Blues Festival in 1997.

John Lee Hooker was working as a janitor in Detroit when he released his first hit single “Boogie Chillen” in 1948. The rest is history. That history is being celebrated at this year's Detroit Music Weekend festival.

The free, all-day-long festival is on July 2 at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

Hooker was a blues guitar player who made the rounds at bars and clubs on Hastings Street back in the day when it was Paradise Valley. He is considered a master and originator of the electric guitar-style adaptation of the Delta blues.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you Detroit isn’t dope. We invented techno, birthed the sweet sounds of Motown, and are home to some legendary soul and blues musicians.

Detroit Music Weekend has been celebrating the city’s contributions to music since its inception in 2017 when Aretha Franklin headlined. The 2021 installment featured a live re-creation of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 masterpiece, “What’s Going On.”

In addition to Hooker, this year’s fest will also honor “Women of the Blues” with hometown and national acts like Zakiya Hooker (John Lee Hooker’s daughter), Ana Popovic, Bettye LaVette, Thornetta Davis, Eliza Neals, and Tosha Owens.

Howard Glazer & Harmonica Shah, and Jimmy D. Scott with special guest Kern Brantley will round out the lineup, and a “Juried Showcase Stage” at Aretha’s Jazz Cafe (inside the Music Hall) will give six up-and-coming musicians the chance to perform a set. The six acts will be chosen from hundreds of applications on the Detroit Music Weekend website.

The festival goes from noon to 10 p.m., but stick around Aretha’s Jazz Cafe for the late-night open mic blues jam in Aretha’s Jazz Cafe inside the Music Hall to keep the party going.

More information is available at detroitmusicweekend.org.

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D . Her favorite pastimes are meditating...
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