Safety Update & What to Bring

Your safety and enjoyment will always be our highest priorities! 

We also want to be responsive to your concerns.

In 2013, we received more comments about tall lawn chairs blocking views and oversize blankets tying up space than any other issues.  And, we stay abreast of safety practices at other major festivals like the Chicago Blues Festival, Bumbershoot and Coachella.   Taken altogether, we knew it was time to make some changes in 2014.

The intent of this safety update is to create a safe, equitable and enjoyable experience for all attendees.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let us hear from you.

Thank you for helping to make the Waterfront Blues Festival a great event for everyone!  We look forward to seeing you July 4th weekend at Waterfront Park.

Yes, Please! Items:

    • Your pass 
    • Two 20oz. factory sealed water bottles or empty reusable bottle
    • One 16x16x8” soft backpack/tote/soft-sided cooler 
    • One 6x8’ blanket
    • One chair per attendee with no maximum seat height.**  
      Attendees with chair seats more than 12” off the ground, will be required to sit in areas specifically designated for “higher chairs.” See message and map below.**
    • Stroller for children
    • Phones & personal cameras
    • Food & snacks!

No, thank you:

    • Hard-sided coolers or picnic baskets, including Styrofoam
    • Hard-framed bags/backpacks
    • Bags/backpacks larger than 16x16x8”
    • Beverages other than water
    • Drugs or alcohol
    • Carts
    • Umbrellas (unless rain is forecasted), tents and canopies
    • Fireworks, weapons
    • Balls or Frisbees
    • Location flags/signs on sticks or poles
    • Professional audio or video recording devices
    • Animals, except service animals

For your convenience at the Festival:

    • ATMs
    • First-aid services
    • Bicycle parking
    • Concessions including food and drinks
    • $1 bottled water with 100% of proceeds benefiting Oregon Food Bank
    • Water stations under the Hawthorne Bridge & park fountains
    • Merchandise – with all proceeds going to helping feeding Oregon families in need
    • Pottery at Oregon Potters Association Empty Bowls Booth
    • Taller chairs permitted in designated section

Please Remember…

    • Keep passages free. Don’t block aisles, walkways, esplanade or other public areas.
    • Dispose of trash in designated receptacles.
    • Beer cups are compostable. Dispose of your empty beer cup in designated receptacles.
    • No distribution of commercial advertisements.
    • Waterfront Blues Festival staff will close entry to Waterfront Park when the audience reaches capacity, as directed by the City of Portland Fire Marshall.
    • Obey all federal, state and City of Portland laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.
    • Do not enter nonpublic areas, i.e. offices, storage, vendor booths, “performers only.”
    • Respect property. Don’t take, deface, degrade, damage or destroy property.
    • Don’t disrupt or interfere with festival operations.
    • No physical or verbal harassment or abuse allowed.
    • Obey directions of festival management team and its authorized contractors.
    • No video or audio recording of concerts without permission from artist.


The festival site is a public park. The walkway is wheelchair accessible and there is a wheelchair seating area at the top of the bowl. But most of the park is a grassy hill. There is no special festival parking. Attendees park in public lots and on the street. The closest parking garage is at S.W. First and Jefferson, just a few blocks from the festival site. 


**Message regarding chairs:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about chair height restrictions. 

Our first priority is your safety.  Next is your enjoyment.  In 2013, we received more negative comments about chair height than almost any other issue other than tarp size.  To create a more enjoyable experience for all attendees, in April we announced that chairs must be a maximum of 12” off the ground.

After further consideration, we have decided to revise our policy on chair height.  To accommodate chairs of varying heights, the festival bowl will be sectioned based on chair height. Note that if you bring a chair that is more than 12” off the ground, you will be asked to sit in an area specifically designated for “higher chairs.”

Our new and modified chair height policy is as follows:  
     • One chair per attendee.  No maximum seat height.
     • Attendees with chair seats more than 12” off the ground, will be required to sit in areas specifically designated for “higher chairs.”
2014 Festival Map