Bring the family!
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 28, 2011) – Watch fireworks. Learn to play blues harmonica or blues piano. Hear the best young talent. Board a boat for a DME Blues Cruise up the Willamette River. Or dance and clap to the music.
The 24th annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union, July 1 to 4, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, is a powerful family tradition with lots of activities for kids.
Entry is a suggested donation of $10 (or more) and two cans of food (or more) per person, per day, making it one of the best summer entertainment bargains around. 100 percent of your donation benefits Oregon Food Bank.
In addition to face-painting and balloons, here are a few kid favorites:
1) Freedom from Hunger Center
Visit the fun and interactive Freedom from Hunger Center near the Main Gate. Get a special button to wear. Play games for prizes. Turn in your Hunger IQ quiz (in the Festival Guide) to be entered in a daily drawing for a $20 coupon for festival merchandise.
Following Linda Hornbuckle’s stirring rendition of the National Anthem, the sky fills with a dazzling display of fireworks, Monday, July 4, 10 p.m. The Waterfront Blues Festival Fireworks Show is the largest display in Oregon. Western Display Fireworks choreographs the show from a barge in the Willamette River to music simulcast by KINK.fm, directly following the National Anthem.
3) Fun workshops for kids at FedEx Workshop Stage
The FedEx Workshop Stage is the festival’s hidden jewel, where you can always find something fun and interesting to learn. Saturday, July 2, and Sunday, July 3, are especially rich with opportunities for children. Look for:
Saturday, July 2, noon to 12:45 p.m., FedEx Workshop Stage
Blues Harmonica for Kids with Lynn Hyde & Stu Kinzel, presented by Apple Music. Learn basic blues harmonica techniques.
Sunday, July 3, 1:30 to 2:15 p.m., FedEx Workshop Stage
Kids Get the Blues, Too: Blues for Kids and Beginners with Brother Yusef. A master solo guitarist and passionate vocalist, Brother Yusef created this program to introduce young children to the early African American tradition of the blues. Through dancing, singing and audience participation, children and adults will discover the many expressions of the Blues. Brother Yusef will touch on the early history of instrument making, vocal styles, such as call and response, and musical styles, such as spirituals, work songs and songs just for fun. He will also talk about the influence of Blues in contemporary music. The program concludes with everyone grabbing an instrument and participating in a grand jam.
Friday, July 1, 9 p.m., FedEx Workshop Stage
Arthur “Fresh Air” Moore’s Harmonica Hoedown. A workshop for anyone, including kids, who already know a bit about basic harmonica technique. This is a chance to actually “sit in” and solo on a couple of choruses with a band backing you.
4) Youth take the stage
Monday, July 4, noon to 12:45 p.m., First Tech Blues Stage
Back Yard Blues Boys, students from Cleveland and Franklin high schools featuring an amazing violin/songwriter, two fabulous female singers, a strong pianist and a formidable upright bassist. Here’s what Blues Notes writes about the group’s debut album:
“The songwriting is exceptional…Each of the members stands out in his or her own right… Biespiel’s violin is incredible... Jillian Looney’s vocals soar... The band truly comes to life behind Samantha Hooper’s lead, with impeccable piano and guitar playing."
Saturday, July 2, 3 p.m., FedEx Workshop Stage
Mac Potts’ Tribute to the Meters. 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist Mac Potts pays tribute to New Orleans’ pioneering funk group, The Meters. Mac is already a veteran himself of stages in the Crescent City as well as the Northwest. Mac first learned his blues chops from D.K. Stewart and has been a long-time member of the Ben Rice Blues Band. He is also a member of Manimalhouse, a funk/soul New Orleans group.
This is Mac’s seventh year playing at the Waterfront Blues Festival, where he has performed as part of various acts. Mac also was featured at the Cincinnati Blues Festival Boogie Woogie stage in 2007.
Mac has traveled to New Orleans each of the last six years for Jazz Fest and has has played with Charmaine Neville, Marcia Ball, Dr. John, Henry Butler, Mitch Woods, the Storyville Stompers and Harry Connick Jr. plus traditional New Orleans brass bands.
Mac recently graduated from Kalama High School, where he earned a 3.95 grade point average. He won the junior division in 2007 at the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles, where he displayed his Braille literacy and technology skills. He also qualified for the finals in the senior division in 2008 and 2009.
5) Delta Music Experience Blues Cruise
Board the Portland Spirit and enjoy great blues in an intimate setting while cruising up the Willamette River. Afternoon cruises are open to all ages. Afternoon cruises board at 2 p.m. and return at 4:30 p.m. Photo ID is required with the exception of children under 12. Tickets are $20. To purchase, visit www.waterfrontbluesfest.com.
Saturday, July 2, DME Blue Bayou Cruise: featuring Chris Cain * Reggie Houston & Janice Scroggins. SOLD OUT.
Sunday, July 3, DME Sail on Sister! Cruise: featuring Duffy Bishop & Friends (Fiona Boyes, Lady A, Ellen Whyte, Lady Kat) * Mia Vermillion * Lauren Sheehan *Acoustic Minds. SOLD OUT.
Monday, July 4, DME Driftin’ Blues Cruise: featuring Bruce Conte * Arsen Shomakov * Grady Champion.
6) Learn to dance, Oregonian Front Porch Stage
Saturday: Zydeco Swamp Romp. Zydeco dance lessons and demonstrations between acts, noon until closing.
Sunday: Swingin’ to the Blues with Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Nathan James, Brother Yusef and more. Dance demonstrations, mini-lessons and competitions from 3 p.m. until closing.
7) Hot day?
Splash in the water at the Salmon Street Fountain.
About the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival
The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union, is produced and operated by Oregon Food Bank with the help of a thousand volunteers to raise food and funds to help people who are hungry throughout Oregon and Clark County, Wash. It is Oregon Food Bank’s largest fundraiser.
Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union.
Major sponsors : FedEx, KIA Motors, iQ Credit Union, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Schnitzer Steel, The Oregonian, KINK, fm.
Supporting sponsors include: Schwindt & Co, The Boeing Company, Regal Cinemas, OregonLive.com, Delta Music Experience, Ecoshuttle, Smartpark, Pfizer, NW Natural. Safeway partner sponsors include: Deschutes Brewery, Chateau St. Michelle, Miller Lite, Earth 2o, Pepsi, Snapple, Mission Foods, Dave’s Killer Bread, Ranchers Reserve, Columbia Distributing, Frito Lay, Yoshida Sauce, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream.