HIGHLIGHTS: August 17-19

Big Bull Falls Blues Fest



Katy Guillen and the Girls

For 27 years this high-volume, high-energy affair has anchored Wausau summers. This iconic event also happens to be the longest-running blues festival in the state, and it is still so hot that VIP tickets sold out months in advance. This year sees the return of two major headliners, Lil’ Ed and Walter Trout, plus several hot newer acts from around the U.S. Music plays under the large tent, while the park is filled with food and drink vendors. New this year, shuttles run every 30 minutes between the fest and stops at seven local hotels and Marathon Park. Shuttles run Fri. 3:30-11:30 pm; Sat. 11:30 am-11:30 pm.


Bring a chair, hang around the whole time, or come and go. Music plays rain or shine, except in severe weather. 2-day general admission $45 in advance, $50 at gate; Saturday only $40 in advance, $45 at gate; Friday only $15. Wausauevents.org


5 pm The Jay Edward Band honors the great blues artists of the past with a hard-hitting Chicago approach, featuring harmonica-fueled boogie tunes that compel you to get up and dance.

7 pm | The Jimmys are a funky and rambunctious band helmed by singer and keyboardist Jimmy Voegeli, of New Glarus, Wis. Influenced by Chicago blues, New Orleans funk and R&B, these guys, with a red-hot horn section, always bring down the house.

Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

Paul Natkin

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

9 pm | Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are back! The flamboyant Lil’ Ed is a showstopper with unmatched infectious energy, backed by the masterful playing of his hard-rocking blues dance band. The recording artists from Chicago have released nine blues albums and toured the world. A good story is what inspires front man Ed Williams in his songwriting and the results are truly hilarious—you’ll certainly get a kick out of crazy songs like “Icicles in my Meatloaf.”


1 pm Too Slim and the Traildraggers From Nashville, these guys play a blend of blues, rock and Americana. With Tim Langford on slide guitar, their wide-ranging style—gritty blues rock to country—appeals to an array of audiences.

3 pm Katy Guillen and the Girls Their indie rock sound is rooted in blues. One of Kansas City’s most distinguished acts, their imaginative songwriting and energetic sound with just the right amount of indie-pop make them totally fun.

5 pm Curtis Salgado is the guy who taught John Belushi about the blues, which inspired the famed Blues Brothers comedy routine. With a career spanning four decades, Salgado performs soul, blues and R&B with powerful vocals and forceful harmonica.

7 pm Robben Ford is a jazz, blues and rock vocalist and guitarist from California, named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century” by Musicianmagazine and a five-time Grammy nominee. He’s shared the stage with celebrated artists including Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Brad Paisley and many others.The musician previously played in a jazz quartet, which is why his bluesy rock sound has a jazzy vibe.


Marco van Rooijen

Walter Trout

9 pm Walter Trout is known as one of the fastest guitar slingers in the world and named the 2018 Blues Music Awards winner for best rock blues album for We’re all in This Together. Trout has bounced back from a liver transplant, and now performs his contemporary blues with more energy than ever.

Stephen Cooper & Nobody Famous



You might remember stellar saxophonist Stephen Cooper as the “huzz” in the audaciously retro act Wifee and the Huzzband. The couple broke up a couple years ago and Cooper renamed his act and added some new faces. He’s been a touring musician for over 25 years, playing in 21 states and seven countries. Deeply rooted in jazz, R&B and blues, he draws on vocal influences from Amy Winehouse, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder. Each member of his band, Nobody Famous, is a superstar playing instruments including horns, bass, drums, keys and seductive guitar. Together, they combine R&B, jazz, soul, blues, funk, hip hop and rock, creating a huge sound that will get you up on your feet. 10 pm. 715-819-3663.

Hope on the 400 Block: Tenth Avenue North



This contemporary Christian rock band was formed when members were attending Palm Beach Atlantic University almost a decade ago and have since released five albums. Their intellectual, melodic pop rock tunes are honest, genuine and true to the bands’ beliefs. Their seek not only to entertain their audience but to also touch their hearts and evoke emotion and truth. It’s a day-long event with kids activities at 2 pm and the concert at 6 pm. Free, non-perishable food donations for the Salvation Army encouraged. Hosted by Thrivent Financial. 89q.org.

For more HIGHLIGHTS a full list of events happening in the Wausau area, pick up a City Pages or view our event listings here!