The Blues Café was initially put together by Tom Schlief, one of the original and long-time organizers of the Big Bull Falls Blues Festival. Uncle “Daddy” Marcus was the emcee of the event, originally designed to raise funds for the Marathon County Historical Society.

The event ran for a couple of years and then disappeared. When the Great Northern Blues Society was formed in 1998, reviving the Blues Café was discussed as a way to raise money. It took a couple of years of planning to put on an event of its size, with the first “reincarnated” Café being held at Marathon Park’s Youth Building in 2000.

The event took place there until 2008, when it was moved to the Stoney Creek Inn. The Blues Café came full circle in 2010 and moved back where it started in 1993 – the historical Rothschild Pavilion.

If you, or anyone you know, has photos from the event at the Youth Building or Stoney Creek, we’d love it if you’d share them with us. Send us your prints to P.O. Box 2276 • Wausau WI 54402-2276 so we can scan and get them back to you quickly.

 

GNBS Blues Café Lineups:

2024: 2024_Blues_Cafe_Poster

Friday Night

Kyle Renfro Band

Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns

Saturday

*Acoustic Sets – Reverend Meantooth

Stefan Geisinger Band

Chris O’Leary Band

Joyann Parker Band

The Cash Box Kings

Dylan Salfer Band

 

2023:

Friday Night2023 Blues Cafe

Tommy Bentz Band

The Peoples Brothers Band

Saturday

*Acoustic Sets – Andy Zynda

Alex Wilson with Big Al Dorn

The Avey Grouws Band

The Stephen Hull Experience

Vanessa Collier

Nick Moss Band with Dennis Gruenling

 

2022:

Friday Night

Harrison Street Band

Hip Pocket Band

Saturday

              *Acoustic Sets – Michael Murphy

The Blues Disciples

Ivy Ford Band

Hector Anchondo

The Jimmys

The Altered Five Blues Band

 

2021: – Show Canceled by Coronavirus Pandemic

 

2020: (The Coronavirus Year)

Friday Night

Soul Symmetry – Canceled and replaced by Bobby Blues Tortured Soul

Aaron Williams & the Hoo Doo

Saturday

              *Acoustic Sets – Sam Ness

Boom Boom Stevie V. & the Knockouts

The Bel Airs

Vanessa Collier – Canceled due to “Virus”

John Nemeth Band – Extended set to 2 hours

Ana Popovic – Extended set to 2 hours

 

2019: (20th Anniversary Show)

Friday Night

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke

Reverend Raven & the Chain-Smokin’ Altar Boys

Saturday

*Acoustic Sets – Macyn Taylor

The Mark Cameron Band

The Ivy Ford Band

The Cash Box Kings

The Danielle Nicole Band

Ronnie Baker Brooks

 

2018:

              *Acoustic Sets – Cathy Grier

Big N’ Tasty

Norman Jackson Band

Southern Avenue

Victor Wainwright & the Train

Jeremiah Johnson Band

 

 

 

2017:

*Acoustic sets – Bing Futch

Joyann Parker Band

Jimmy Nick & Don’t Tell Mama

Ghost Town Blues Band

Brandon Santini

Becky Barksdale

 

 

 

2016:

              *Acoustic sets – Dan Phelps

Aaron Williams & The Hoo Doo

Left Lane Cruiser

Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers

Lionel Young Band

Albert Cummings

 

 

 

2015:

*Acoustic Sets – Duck Shack Dave

Left Wing Bourbon

Crankshaft & The Gear Grinders

Bobby Messano

Chris O’Leary Band

Samantha Fish

 

 

 

2014:

*Acoustic Sets – Lonesome Dan Kase

Howard Guitar Luedtke & Blue Max

Altered Five

Rusty Wright Band

Shaun Murphy

Joe Louis Walker

 

 

 

 

2013:

*Acoustic Sets – Robert “One-Man” Johnson

Donnie Pick & The Road Band

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Grady Champion

Sena Ehrhardt (Booked after Magic Slim Died)

Corey Stevens

 

 

 

2012: (March 31)

*Acoustic Sets – Bryan Anderson

Donnie Pick & The Road Band

Jumpship Blues Band

Howard & The White Boys

Albert Castiglia

Chris Duarte

 

 

 

2011:

*Acoustic sets – Lonesome Dan Kase

Jumpship Blues Band

Tallan Noble Latz

Red, White, and Blues Band

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Tinsley Ellis

 

 

 

2010: (March 27)

Red, White, and Blues Band

Meantooth Grin

Insomniacs

Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials

Shane Dwight

 

 

 

 

2009: (March 28)

Mean Tooth Grin

Aaron Williams & The Hoo Doo

Charles Walker

Studebaker John & The Hawks

Walter Trout

 

 

 

 

2008: (March 22)

Geneva Red

Deep Water

Anthony Gomes (Ride Em’ Cowboy)

 

 

2007: (March 17)

Deep Water Reunion

Otis & the Alligators

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke & Blue Max

Janiva Magness

Debbie Davies

 

 

 

2006: (March 18)

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke

Bryan Lee

Studebaker John & the Hawks

Alvin Youngblood Hart

 

 

 

2005: (March 19th)

Sweet Tea

Shirley Johnson

Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings

Jimmy Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

2004:  (March 20)

Michael Murphy & The Mob

Rev. Raven & The Chain-Smokin’ Altar Boys

The Bill Perry Band

Magic Slim & The Teardrops

 

 

 

 

 

2003: (March 22)

The Blue Shadows

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke & Blue Max

Otis & The Alligators

Scott Holt

 

 

2002:  N/A – no show on record.

 

2001: (October 20)

Jr. G & the Hellhounds

Dave Steffen Band

Catfish Stephenson Band

Willie Kent & the Gents

 

 

 

 

 

2001: (March 31)

Soul to Soul

Joe Moss Band

The Milwaukee Slim Blues Band

Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band

 

 

 

 

 

2000: (March 18th)2000 Blues Cafe

Blue Shadows

Juliano Bailey and the Gems

A.C. Reed & The Spark Plugs

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials