THE Best Entertainment Value Around
Four days, four stages, 120 performances, spectacular riverfront setting, fireworks, just $10/day.
The 29th annual Waterfront Blues Festival is the best entertainment value around; 120 musical performances on 4 stages over 4 days on the waterfront in the heart of Portland…plus zydeco & swing dance lessons, blues guitar & harmonica workshops and the best fireworks show in Oregon. All for just $10/day, and it’s for a great cause!
Almost 30 years ago, Oregon Food Bank had a dream of bringing great blues music to Portland to help alleviate hunger in Oregon. What started as a much smaller effort has grown into a world-class four-day music experience. “We have a fabulous lineup this year, presenting the younger, cutting edge of the ‘blues’ genre as well as pioneering legacy acts,” said Artistic Director Peter Dammann. “Performers from Africa and Brazil as well as Mississippi, Texas, Chicago and the Pacific Northwest.”
“But this festival is about so much more than the headliners,” continued Dammann. “It’s the spectacular riverfront setting, the righteous cause, the low cost and affordability, the fireworks; the after-hours shows, Blues cruises on the Willamette, workshops and Zydeco dance lessons—all of which makes Waterfront Blues Fest the entertainment deal of the summer.”
The breadth and depth of musical talent is unrivaled. On July 1 the festival kicks off on the Main Stage with Tedeschi Trucks Band, the 11-piece roots-and-blues collective formed by singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi and her husband, Derek Trucks, perhaps the greater slide guitar player alive today. Also appearing on the main stage on Friday is internationally and critically acclaimed singer saxaphonist, Femi Kuti and his band, Positive Force. Born in London and raised in Lagos, Femi and Positive Force have released a half-dozen recordings, collaborating and touring along the way with Mos Def, Jane’s Addiction, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and garnering four Grammy nominations.
Saturday, July 2 brings Maceo Parker, Jimmie Vaughan & The Tilt-A-Whirl Band Featuring Lou Ann Barton, and Grace Love & The True Loves to the Main Stage while Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band headline the Front Porch Stage.
On Sunday, July 3 look for New Orleans voodoo R&B legend, Dr. John & the Night Trippers, JJ Grey & Mofro, ZZ Ward and the Soul Rebels brass band. The main stage closes Sunday with “Prince Taught Me,” a spirited celebration/remembrance by former Portland vocalist Liv Warfield and other members of Prince’s ferocious 12-piece band.
Monday, July 4 headliners include Curtis Salgado Band, California Honeydrops, Samantha Fish, and relative newcomer, The Record Company. LA Weekly hails The Record Company for “making bluesy music that would sound more at home in a sweaty, backwoods Mississippi juke joint,” while TIME OUT LOS ANGELES has described their sound as “reminiscent of some of the best acts of the ’50s and ’60s—like if John Lee Hooker and the Stooges had a well-behaved love child.”
For a complete line-up, visit www.waterfrontbluesfest.com
It’s about giving back
The Waterfront Blues Festival is owned and operated by Oregon Food Bank. Proceeds from the festival help to feed 1 out of 5 people in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Since 1988, the Blues Fest has raised more than $10 million and 1,000 tons of food to fight hunger in the region.
Single day passes are just $10. Four-day passes begin at $40. Four-day passes allow for priority entry and re-entry, which is especially important when the festival gates close because the park has reached capacity. If you plan to attend – including the July 4th fireworks show – you must purchase a pass. Children six and under are free, and a limited number of passes will be made available each day for Oregon Trail Card holders.
Festival gates open daily at 11 a.m.
(10:30 a.m. for Buddy, Benefactor and Patron passes)
It’s more than four stages
Six river cruises and two after-hours parties offer fans a more intimate experience with a variety of festival bands.
The Delta Music Experience hosts cruises aboard the Portland Spirit with tickets at $29 (afternoon) and $39 (evening). Catch a variety of acts including…. teenage guitar virtuoso Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Los StraightJackets, Samantha Fish, NW Women in Rhythm & Blues.
Then there’s the after-party. For those wanting to continue the celebration after the festival, the Marriott Ballroom across the street hosts two concerts that will be sure to rock many socks off. On Saturday, July 2, Maceo Parker and The Soul Rebels are sure to play to a full house. Then, on Sunday, July 3 don’t miss the party with JJ Gray & Mofro and California Honeydrops.
After-hours performances begin at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 while quantities last. But your best bet is to purchase the Blues Buddy Pass, which includes discounted access to both after-hours parties, as well as early entry (and priority re-entry) to the festival all four days.
For festival passes, lineup, schedule, artist bios and more, visit http://waterfrontbluesfest.com.