The Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival is slated for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29, at the Indian Crossing Casino.
The Indian Crossing Casino opened as a dancing and entertainment facility (not gambling) on July 4, 1925. Even today, it is one of the most significant landmarks on Waupaca’s Chain O’ Lakes.
There have been changes in popular musical styles over the decades, from big band swing to rock & roll, but the Casino’s interior has remained virtually the same. The large stage, the heavy velvet stage curtains, and the spacious wooden dance floor still exist as they did in 1925.
In the early years, it was illegal to dance on Sundays in Waupaca County so attendees had to quit dancing at midnight on Saturdays. During WWII, special programs for soldiers were featured, with 10 cent dances, three for 25 cents.
In 1930, there was the Battle of the Bands which was broadcast over WLS Radio in Chicago. There were also sporting events at the Casino, such as swimming races, with prizes for boys and girls.
Some of the popular musical bands and entertainers featured at the Casino over the years included Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown, Lawrence Welk, Beach Boys, Everly Brothers, Woody Herman, Neil Young, Bobby Vinton, Herman’s Hermits and Ricky Nelson. Nelson died in a plane crash shortly after entertaining at the Casino.
The 2012 Chain O’ Lakes Blues Festival will carry on the legendary tradition of live music at the Indian Crossing Casino.
Friday’s line-up will begin at 6 p.m. with the Dave Steffen Band and continue with Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns at 8 p.m.
The festival continues Saturday at 3 p.m. with the Alex Wilson Band (2011 Wisconsin Blues Band of the Year), Shaker and the Egg at 5pm, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys at 7pm and Otis & the Alligators at 9:30pm.
Tickets are $10 for Friday, $15 for Saturday or $20 for a weekend pass, available by calling the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce at 888-417-4040.
In addition to the festival line-up, several other Waupaca area establishments will feature blues entertainment including Simpson’s Restaurant and the Wheel House Restaurant.
For complete details, visit www.WaupacaMemories.com.