Coming Up at the Balloon & Blues Festival

  • Balloon Pilot/Crew Briefing at 5:30 p.m.
  • Scheduled Balloon Launch at 6:00 p.m. (Weather Permitting – Keep your eyes on the sky to see if they fly)

Coming Up – Ivy Ford Band


Ivy Ford Band
Saturday, June 15th, 2019 from 4:30-6:00pm.


“Miss Ivy Ford, wise beyond her years,”

Ivy Ford, singer, musician, entertainer. Waukegan born and raised, at 25 she is quite the up and coming artist of the Chicago blues and live music scene. Ivy Ford started performing live with Kenosha based band The Real Deal, managed by Steve Rainey at 13 and since then continues to nurture her niche and calling to the music. She plays piano, alto saxophone, drums, bass guitar and guitar which are primarily self taught. In late 2012, Ford joined a local blues band which in time evolved into Ivy Ford and The Cadillacs and gained fair amounts of popularity.

Fast forward two years and Ivy Ford has managed to take the Chicago scene by storm. In January,2015 Ivy Ford opened for the legend, Buddy Guy at his club in Chicago and continues to share the stage with Chicago blues hall of famers, J.B. Ritchie, Joe Moss, Toronzo Cannon and Tom Holland. She fronts her very own band and besides obtaining the title of “Chicago’s Blues Kitten,” performs song selections from not just the blues genres but RnB and soul. Aside from performing every weekend at both private and public event, clubs and venues, she is in the process of recording an unplugged album including originals. Some recent event for Ford include, radio shows on 90.9 WDCB, and In a Nutshell radio show on 98.3 WRLR. She’s been apart of Buddy Guys Legends, Artist series and traveled to Minneapolis, MN to perform at Artspace’s 2013 Celebration at the Cowle Theater. Ivy Ford has been featured in Buddy Guy’s Blues and Music News, Lake County Magazine and Blues Guitar Expert’s online forum. To follow or check into Ford’s shows and happenings go to or Twitter at #MissIvyFord.

Ivy Ford, is one of the leading “youngbloods” of blues and brings a refreshing yet classic face to the music. She handles her cherry red, Epiphone-339 with as much confidence as any of the bluesmen today and can belt out notes to fill a room and serenade a phrase sweeter than sugar in ways that make anyone and everyone tune in to what she has to say. Ivy Ford, always respects the history and tradition of roots and blues music, while presenting it in a fresh, young and trendy way.

Passing The Torch…

When not fronting her own blues party, Ivy is quite respected backing up Chicago Blues Hall of Fame Inductee, J.B. Ritchie. Legendary guitarist and frontman as his bass player. Ritchie has played alongside some of the greats himself and has been amongst famous artists such as Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter.

J.B. Ritchie as taken Ivy Ford under his wing and not only passes on the traditions of what being a class act entertainer and musician is about also shares a kindred friend and fellowsip from one artist to another.

The audience proclaimed, “Perfect Storm,” frequently share the stage in the Chicago circuit and special events

Check them out at:

Coming Up – Birddog Blues Band


Birddog Blues Band
Saturday, June 15th, 2019 from 2:30-4:00pm.


Yep…definitely blues…. with attitude. Birddog Blues Band is a Power Rhythm & Blues group that boast ‘talent, tenacity and tone’… and back it up with their play! A traditional set-up of lead guitar, bass, drums and harmonica with three vocalists, offers a great blend of styles and personality.

Ken Olufs credits his development as a blues musician to the late, great Barrelhouse Chuck, and has shared the stage with Nick Moss, Paul Filipowicz, Tab Benoit, Rev Raven, Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn, Westside Andy, Tommy Harkenrider and many others.

Jazz performer and producer Ben Sidran calls Mel Ford “(guitar/vocals – Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band) “ …one of the finest blues players in the Midwest if not the country.”

Veteran bass player, Tom McCarty is in great demand as both a player and singer. Said Steve Jones, President of Crossroads Blues Society, “This is a band you simply must hear.”

Check them out at:

Flying High