The downtown Portland waterfront transforms into a paradise for blues, soul, funk, and rhythm and blues fans every year for four days on the first weekend of July. This year, the 31st annual Waterfront Blues Festival kicks off on Independence Day and runs through Sunday, July 7. It’s the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi River.
There’s plenty of music to choose from! More than 60 bands and soloists perform on four stages throughout the festival. This year’s featured artists are Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Shemekia Copeland, The California Honeydrops, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Robert Cray Band, Vintage Trouble, MarchFourth, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.
Trombone Shorty plays trumpet at a concert in 2018. (photo by Cheryl Landes)
Other daily activities include blues cruises on the Willamette River, dance lessons, a blues competition, dance contests, parades, and after-hours shows. And on Sunday, start your day with yoga.
At dusk on July 4, there’s a 20-minute fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day. The fireworks show is also broadcast live on KOIN-TV, Channel 6, in Portland.
Admission prices start at $20 per person. Buy tickets online.
Parking is available in pay lots within walking distance, but the best way to travel is to take public transit. Plan your trip.
The Sunshine Division is collecting food donations throughout the festival. They’re looking for non-perishable food items. Cash donations are also accepted.
For more information, visit waterfrontbluesfest.com.
The Waterfront Blues Festival celebrates July 4 with a fireworks show over the Willamette River. (photo by Cheryl Landes)