Words + Photos by Tom Dellinger

Over the 4th of July weekend, Portland, Oregon hosted the 27th annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. Running for four days (July 3-6), it is impressive not only for the talent presented, but also as a fundraising vehicle for the Oregon Food Bank, raising over one million dollars this year!

Located on the banks of the Willamette River, the festival was well-attended as they ran four stages with non-stop music that covered a broad range of acts, including Maceo Parker, Dumpstaphunk, Joan Osborne, Boz Scaggs, and more.

Though most artists on the bill work primarily in the blues genre, some clearly stretch outside of that realm, such as Bombino (from Niger), Los Lonely Boys, and Los Lobos, who put on a stunning set despite of the absence of David Hidalgo. In one of the most notable performances of the event, Los Lobos played with legendary ferocity, and even invited Henry Garza from Los Lonely Boys to join in on the jam.

In addition to showcasing nationally known acts, there were many outstanding performances from regional and local artists from the Portland area. Cooper & the Jam from Nashville were very memorable as were performances from local vocalists Andy Stokes and LaRhonda Steele. The weather was beautiful and got hotter as the weekend progressed…..much like the music.



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