2009 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival raises food funds to help fight hunger

Final tally exceeds goal

PORTLAND, Ore. – Stellar performances, enthusiastic volunteers committed sponsors and generous blues fans helped make the 22nd Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union, a success.

Blues fans donated more than $479,343 at the gate. This year, the festival also offered blues fans new ways to increase their donations by buying special passes. Special passes purchased online added $65,295 to festival coffers, enabling the Oregon Food Bank to exceed its $500,000 goal with total donations of $544,638. In addition, blues fans contributed more than 87,577 pounds of food.

“We owe the festival’s success to the support of our community – from our generous and committed sponsors to the more than 1,100 volunteers who keep the festival running smoothly, to music fans who donated $10 and two cans of food at the gate,” said Rachel Bristol, Oregon Food Bank’s executive director and CEO.

“We’re especially grateful for the community’s support in these tough times,” said Barbara Peschiera, Oregon Food Bank director of development.

The annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is Oregon Food Bank’s largest annual fund-raiser. Every $10 donation enables Oregon Food Bank to collect and distribute about 40 pounds of food, the amount in an average emergency food box for a family of four.

“I was thrilled with the quality of the music,” said Barbara Peschiera, Oregon Food Bank director of development. “But it’s the atmosphere that makes this festival so special. We are fortunate to live in a great place. It’s a moving experience to look across the crowd and see the rich diversity of our community and so many people being good to each other and enjoying summer. People had a great time.”

Since its modest beginnings in 1988, the award-winning festival has grown to be the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi, attracting blues fans from throughout the world.

Close to 100,000 music fans attended the 2009 festival. Blues fans from every state in the nation as well as Switzerland, England, Sweden, Spain, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil, Russia, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Tonga, Manila, Philippines, Yap and the Bahamas stopped at the festival’s Information Booth.

Daily attendance varied from 16,850 on opening day, Thursday, July 2, when music began at 3 p.m., to a high of 31,604 on Friday, July 3, a holiday for many workers. Although attendance reached 28,734 on Saturday, July 4 –fewer attendees than Friday – the festival bowl filled to capacity as more people spent the full day enjoying the festival. Sunday’s attendance was 18,932.

Every blues fan seems to have his or her favorite concert.

“It doesn’t get better than this,” said Kathy Rankin, who has attended every Waterfront Blues Festival since its inception and appreciates the diversity of the music. “Through music, we had a chance to travel through music to New Orleans, Nashville, the Mississippi Delta and Chicago,” she said. “Thanks, too, for keeping local musicians playing at the music festival.”

“For me, the best was the full day of Zydeco Swamp Romp,” commented Elle Hayes of Beaverton, “And Johnny Winter was fantastic.

For John Carmody, the place to be on Sunday was the Oregonian A&E Front Porch Stage, where the crowd danced to the swinging blues of the Insomniacs and DK Stewart.

This year’s stellar line-up included more than 100 performances including triple Grammy Award-winning bluesman Keb’ Mo’, presented by First Tech Credit Union; Grammy-nominated Robben Ford; Texas blues-rock legend Johnny Winter, presented by iQ Credit Union; slide-guitar wizard Sonny Landreth; Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe; the Lee Boys; Rick Estrin and the Nightcats; Candye Kane; Terry Evans; Bonerama; Kevin Gordon, presented by the Boeing Company; Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings; Ryan Shaw; Magic Slim and the Teardrops; Big Sam’s Funky Nation; Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, presented by Karolyn H. March, attorney at law; and more.

About Oregon Food Bank: Oregon Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization. It is the hub of a the Oregon Food Bank Network, a statewide network of 20 regional food banks and 915 hunger-relief agencies serving Oregon and Clark County, Wash.

About festival sponsors: The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is presented by First Tech Credit Union. 

Major sponsors include FedEx Corporation, iQ Credit Union, The Oregonian A&E, KINK.fm, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Wildhorse Resort and Casino, and Travel Portland.

Supporting sponsors include Mission Foods, Deschutes Brewery, Henry’s, Beringer Wine, Snapple, Earth2o Water, Pepsi, Frito Lay Snacks, Yoshida Sauce, Dave’s Killer Bread, Eggland’s Best, Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Burt’s Bees, NW Natural, The Boeing Company, PacificSource Health Plans, OregonLive.com, Blues Revue, Music Millennium, True Tone Audio, Karolyn March, Lions Foundation, Cascade Blues Association, Oregon State Fair, Winthrop Music Association, Oregon Potters Association, Cascade Zydeco Association, Delta Music Experience, University Place Hotel, Marriott Hotel, RiverPlace Hotel, Hotel Fifty, travelportland.com.