Since 1988, the Waterfront Blues Fest has raised funds and awareness to fight hunger in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. The Oregon Food Bank, which had produced the event for three decades as its major annual fundraiser, recently turned over production responsibilities to its longtime festival partner, Waterfront Blues Production. OFB remains the beneficiary of the event. Since its inception, the festival has raised nearly $11 million and more than 1,000 tons of food to fight hunger in the region.
Not just Portland or Oregon’s largest festival, the WBF is the largest blues fest west of the Mississippi River with four days of high-caliber music for just $10 a day. Family-friendly and featuring plenty of local talent as well as instantly recognizable classics from blues, funk and rock legends, spending Independence Day on the banks of the Willamette River will also earn you a front row seat for the city’s most impressive display of fireworks. The four days of blues by the river are bolstered by day and nighttime action including DME Blues Cruises on the Portland Spirit and After-Hours All-Stars performances featuring many of the bill’s top names.
The 2018 lineup features Robert Randolph & the Family Band, The Revivalists, Beth Hart, Curtis Salgado, The Mavericks, Marc Broussard, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, The Motet, Pine Leaf Boys, Polyrhythmics, Kevin Selfe Big Band, LaRhonda and the Steele Family Band, Dirty Revival, Worth and many, many more!
Wednesday, July 4 to Saturday, July 7
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Ore.
Four-day passes start at just $40—but you can win a pair of KGON Buddy Passes (valued at $85 per pass) by leaving a comment below!
Come early so you can score the ideal location to catch your fest favorites, then relax and take in the tunes.
Attracting all ages, this festival definitely skews older with families and groups making a day of it by selecting a prime spot in front of the stage that features the acts they want to catch. Low beach chairs, blankets and coolers are allowed but you’ll have to leave your booze at home (and purchase beer and wine on-site). If you plan to camp out in the sun all day, bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat. That said, once you’ve staked out a spot, feel free to divide and conquer (preferably leaving one watch behind) by bouncing around the fest to see what’s happening on each of the four stages (including crossing beneath the Hawthorne Bridge to the checkered zydeco dance floor—which is always lively).