The Bands

Local 362 All Stars - 1:00PM

Since 2010, musical members of the South Bend Fire Department have come together to create an all-firefighter band specifically for the South Bend Firefighter's Local 362 Bluesfest. They call themselves the 362 All Stars. Although the line-up changes from year to year, a core group of individuals provide a solid foundation.

Because members work on opposing shifts, practice time comes at a premium. The band compiles a set list and is able to rehearse only about a half dozen times before taking the stage as the first act at the Bluesfest. In the past, they've played everything from Buddy Guy and The Beatles to B.B King, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

"It's for a great cause and we have a lot of fun. It's something I look forward to every year," says core drummer, Mark Mammon. "Our goals are pretty simple," added keyboardist, Todd Skwarcan. "Give about an hour of entertainment, have fun and try not to lay an egg."

Howard and the White Boys - 3:00PM

Howard & the White Boys formed in 1988 and began jamming together just for fun, but their fast-growing popularity soon convinced them they could make a career of it. After only a few months, they got their first big break by opening for B.B. King. Their reputation grew in Chicago and they began performing with the biggest names in blues: Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, Albert King, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry.

Between 1994 and 1997, the group made two highly acclaimed recordings, Strung Out On The Blues and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?, for Los Angeles based Mighty Tiger Records. They began traveling extensively across the United States and their growing popularity captured the attention of Philadelphia based Evidence Records. The Big $core was the first of three successful discs released by Evidence, and the band wasted no time in promoting it via the first of many trips to European countries such as Belgium, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Luxembourg, Lithuania, and England. Riding the ever-growing wave of popularity both at home and abroad, the group then released a well-received live CD for Evidence entitled Live At Chord On Blues. In 2007, Evidence released the critically acclaimed Made in Chicago which showcased the group's versatility and encompassed the funk, R & B, and rock styles that have become Howard & the White Boys trademarks.

Stefan Hillesheim - 5:00PM

Born Jan 17th, 1987 in Koblenz, Germany Stefan is best known for his fingerstyle and slide guitar playing, soulful vocals and songwriting skills. Stefan Hillesheim studied classical guitar in Germany under Hubert Käppel – one of the most influential classical guitarists and teachers of his time. Stefan moved to Los Aneles, California at age 27 to attend Musicians Institute (GIT) where he was awarded "Most Improved Student" of the Year 2015.

Soon after he started playing at renowned gospel churches and live music clubs across the country. His signature guitar tone and driving rhythm guitar skills make Stefan a high demand session player. Stefan has worked with, and is working with, many notable artists, including Ellis Hall (former Tower of Power), Brent Carter (Average White Band), Tony Llorenz (former Albert King Band, former Stevie Ray Vaughan), Emerson Cardenas (former Santana), Bobby Kimball (former Toto), Frank Nitty (former 2Pac), James Fortune (gospel recording artist) Regardless of the genre and band configuration Stefan convinces as a straight from the heart musician, who's passionate and inspired live performances leave no one untouched.

Ivy Ford - 7:00PM

Ivy Ford, singer, musician, entertainer. Waukegan born and raised, at 26 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.

Ivy Ford, is one of the leading "youngbloods" of blues and brings a refreshing yet classic face to the music. She formerly handled 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. With her latest "Buddy Guy," polka dot stratocastor Ivy Ford, always respects the history and tradition of roots and blues music, while presenting it in a fresh, young and trendy way.

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.

Albert Castiglia - 9:00PM

Miami-raised Albert Castiglia served an apprenticeship while backing legendary blues musician Junior Wells. He later went on to work with singer Sandra Hall. Never content to allow himself to be con?ned to any particular category, he embarked on a solo career that’s yielded many critically-acclaimed albums and consist kudos for his exceptional instrumental prowess, his searing vocals and live performances that have dazzled audiences from coast to coast.

It’s little wonder that Miami’s New Times lauded him as South Florida’s "Best Blues Guitarist" or that USA Today was inspired to remark "It's a revelation to discover the thrilling retro-electric blues from this astonishing young guitarist." M Music & Musicians once noted, "His back-to-basics approach follows in the footsteps of those who fostered the blues in the Mississippi Delta and the smoky late-night haunts of Chicago." After the highly successful and critically acclaimed release of Masterpiece on Gulf Coast Records, Castiglia was nominated for two Blues Music Awards in the categories of Blues Rock Album of the Year and Blues Rock Artist of the Year and won Blues Rock Album of the Year.