Armchair photo tours: Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland

Shemekia Copeland sings at the 2019 Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon.

Photos by Cheryl Landes

So many festivals are cancelling or postponing this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m now seeing cancellations through July.

The Waterfront Blues Festival was among the first July events to cancel this year. Organizers announced the move shortly after Oregon’s shelter-in-place rules took effect almost a month ago. “The safety of the community is our absolute priority,” they said in a statement on the festival’s home page. “With attendees flying in from nearly all 50 states and over a dozen countries, the responsible decision is to cancel the event.”

Read the full statement.

I understand their concerns for safety, because the Waterfront Blues Festival is the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi River and draws thousands of fans to downtown Portland every Fourth of July weekend.

Until we can return, we have happy memories of festivals past. For today’s tour, I’m posting some photos from the last night of the 2019 festival. I’m looking forward to returning next year.

Pulled BBQ pork sandwich and strawberry lemonade for dinner from Jackson Square New Orleans

Tent shops at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon

Shoppers at the Waterfront Blues Festival

Portlanders are proud of the city’s weirdness.

Boats anchor in the Willamette River near the Waterfront Blues Festival stages to hear the concerts.

Chubby Carrier & his Bayou Swamp Band


Shemekia Copeland


Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue



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