Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteer group

Volunteers handle everything from greeting blues fans and collecting donations to packing thousands of pounds of donated cans into boxes.

Volunteers Ask…


When can I sign up to volunteer?
Volunteer registration for the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival begins each year in May.


How long are the volunteer shifts?
Most volunteer shifts are about 3-4 hours long. Specific times and lengths are available on the volunteer calendar.


Do spots fill quickly?
Volunteer shifts are filled on a first come first served basis and spots can fill quickly. We encourage you to sign up as early as you are able -- we do, however, get a number of cancelations about a week prior to the festival and new volunteer positions open up, so please consider checking back if you can’t find a time that works for you.



Are volunteers required to purchase a pass?
You’re not required to purchase a pass if you’re volunteering for a 3-4 hour shift. However, we strongly encourage you to do so because a $10 single day pass allows Oregon Food Bank to provide about 30 meals for our neighbors in need.

What can I bring? What should I leave at home?
Check out the festival rules page.


Where is the festival?
At Tom McCall Waterfront Park, between the west bank of the Willamette River and Naito Parkway, near the Hawthorne Bridge and S.W. Madison.

Where should I park?

SmartPark or City Center Parking lots are your best bet. Park your bicycle on site. Or take a bus and avoid parking. Learn more about where to park.

When should I check in?

10 to 15 minutes before your shift begins. Allow enough time to negotiate traffic and park.

Where do I enter the festival?
All Volunteers enter at the Ramp Gate. For a map of where the Ramp Gate is located, please refer to your official Waterfront Blues Festival: 2016 Volunteer Confirmation email for details. Please make sure to add to your contacts, so that your confirmation email doesn’t go into your spam folder.

Where do I check in?

The Volunteer Tent is located directly inside the Ramp Gate entrance, next to the Police Memorial — off Naito Parkway, south of the Hawthorne Bridge. Look for the “Volunteer Check In” sign. If you’ll be volunteering on multiple days, you are required to check in each day. All volunteers assemble at the ‘Volunteer Check-In’ tent, then once everyone has arrived, we will escort volunteers to specific work site.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable shoes, such as running shoes or tennis shoes, closed-toed for safety. And dress for the weather. If it looks like rain, bring rain gear. If it’s sunny, wear a hat and sunscreen. If you have sensitive ears, bring earplugs. We’ll give you an official Waterfront Blues Festival volunteer T-shirt to wear. When your shift ends, change out of your volunteer T-shirt so we know you are off duty.

What will I do?

We’ll train you on the job.

Weather, traffic, donor generosity or performer popularity may affect your workload. If we find your shift is understaffed or overstaffed, we’ll reassign jobs. We may bring other volunteers to your site, or we may ask you to help in another area. If you are uncomfortable with your assigned job, tell your site supervisor or report to the Volunteer Tent. We’ll do our best to make your experience positive.

Where can I put my belongings while I work?

Please leave your valuables at home as we do not have a place to store your belongings while you are volunteering. Oregon Food Bank is not liable for lost personal items.

Can I drink alcohol while volunteering?
No. Oregon Food Bank has a zero-tolerance policy for volunteers regarding alcohol consumption on the job. We strictly enforce this policy.

How does the festival help fight hunger?
Oregon Food Bank distributes food to hunger-relief agencies throughout the state through a network of 21 Regional Food Banks. Every month, an estimated 270,000 people eat meals from an emergency food box.

Are there volunteer shifts where I can sit down?

Seated positions are only available to people with disabilities. Volunteer shifts otherwise require standing for 3-4 hours at a time. We are unable to guarantee volunteer opportunities in complete shade as this festival takes place outside. Learn about volunteer job descriptions and requirements.

Can groups sign up to volunteer at the festival?
Due to the complexity of the Blues Festival and volunteer needs, we do not have group opportunities available for this event. 

If I volunteer, can I come to the festival before my volunteer shift or stay after my shift ends?
Yes. We encourage you to stay and enjoy the festival! Please remove your volunteer t-shirt so visitors don’t think you’re still volunteering.

Can children volunteer?
16 years old is the minimum age for all special event shifts. Age restrictions vary depending on the shift selected (as indicated on the application). Volunteers under 18 must submit Youth release forms.  

Have other questions?

If you have any questions, please e-mail Thank you for your interest. The Waterfront Blues Festival can't succeed without the dedicated efforts of volunteers!

See you at the festival!