Bring the whole family! The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival offers a number of fun activities for kids.
Examples from last year's festival are listed below. Stay tuned for more information about the 2013 festival!
1) Off-Street Processional
A New Orleans style, off-street processional will help kick off the Waterfront Blues Festival 25th anniversary, Wednesday, July 4. The motley Mysti Krewe of Nimbus performance will travel from the First Tech Blues Stage to the Miller Stage (north to south), 3 to 3:30 p.m.
Following Linda Hornbuckle’s rendition of the National Anthem, the sky will fill with a dazzling display of fireworks, Wednesday, July 4, 10 p.m.
3) Freedom from Hunger Center
Visit the fun and interactive Freedom from Hunger Center near the Main Gate. Test your knowledge about hunger. Get a special button to wear. Toss a bean bag; throw a disk. Everyone wins a prize.
4) Dance Kids
The festival announces a new, family-friendly addition. You’ll find Dance Kids by the Oregonian Front Porch Stage (north of the Hawthorne Bridge), next to the Portland Blues Experience booth. Daily, from opening until 6 p.m., the booth will offer a variety of dance classes and activities for kids, including East Coast swing, jazz, hip hop, music jam, shaker makers, beat boxing, sing-alongs and art activities. You’ll find a complete schedule at the Dance Kids booth. Sign up for a preferred time slot or show up each hour to participate. For more information, visit www.portlandbluesexperience.com.
5) More opportunities to learn to dance, Oregonian Front Porch Stage
• Thursday, July 5, and Friday, July 6, before the festival begins, 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Portland Blues Explosion. A convention of swing/blues dancers from all over the U.S. will give lessons and demonstrations before the festival begins on the Oregonian Front Porch Stage. Mini-lessons will continue between acts.
• Saturday, July 7, noon to closing. An all-day Zydeco Swamp Romp will feature Zydeco dance lessons and demonstrations between acts.
• Sunday, July 8, 4:15 p.m. to closing: Swingin’ to the Blues with California Honey Drops, Devin Phillips Black & Blue, Cedric Burnside and Kilborn Alley. Activities will include demonstrations, mini-lessons and competitions.
6) Fun workshops for kids at the FedEx Crossroads Stage
The FedEx Crossroads stage (between the Sponsor Pavilion and the Hawthorne Bridge) will include special workshops for kids:
• Thursday, July 5, 8:45-10:15 p.m., FedEx Crossroads Stage
Arthur “Fresh Air” Moore’s Harmonica Hoedown. This all-ages workshop is for those who already know a bit about basic harmonica technique. This is your chance to sit in or solo on a couple of choruses with a band backing you.
• Saturday, July 7, noon to 12:45 p.m., FedEx Crossroads Stage
Blues Guitar Workshop with Robbie Laws. A masterful blues guitarist and some of his students share pointers on electric and acoustic blues guitar styles. This workshop is open to students and fans of all ages.
• Sunday, July 8, 12:45 to 1:30 p.m., FedEx Crossroads Stage
Blues Harmonica for Kids with Lynn Hyde & Stu Kinzel, presented by Apple Music. Learn basic blues harmonica techniques. Harmonicas will be available at cost or bring your own.
7) Youth take to the stage
• Backyard Blues Boys. Sunday, July 8, noon to 12:45 p.m., First Tech Blues Stage, and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., DME Highwater Blues Cruise, Portland Spirit
This group of recent Cleveland and Franklin high alumni reunite after their first year away at college. One member’s been jamming with blues legends in New Orleans while studying at Tulane; another’s been studying jazz at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. “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." – Blues Notes
After their set on First Tech Blues Stage, noon to 12:45 p.m., the Backyard Blues Boys will reconvene on the Portland Spirit for an all-ages blues cruise at 2:30 p.m.
• Mac Potts: Boogies, Rags & Strides. Sunday, July 8, 4 to 5 p.m., Crossroads Stage
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 eighth year playing at the Waterfront Blues Festival, where he has performed as part of various acts.
Mac has traveled to New Orleans Jazz Fest and numerous times and 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 and others.
8) Stop by Health Net Pavilion for free health screenings
How’s your health? Stop by the Health Net Pavilion for FREE health screenings.
The Lions Club Mobile Testing Unit will provide free health screenings for visual acuity, glaucoma, hearing, blood pressure and blood glucose (a test for diabetes). Staffed by Lions Club volunteers, the Lions Club Mobile Testing Unit is air-conditioned and provides a clean, private and quiet environment for health screenings. You’ll also find ear plugs for sensitive ears. The Caring Ambassadors Program will offer free screenings for hepatitis C.
9) Healthy food options
This year, the Waterfront Blues Festival, in partnership with the City of Portland and Multnomah County, will offer more healthy food options. You’ll see the “Healthy Options Here” sign at festival food-vendor booths, including Big City Burrito, Horn of Africa and Rafati’s. For example, vendors will offer half-size portions and unsweetened beverages. The Healthy Options Here program is a part of Comissioner Nick Fish's Healthy Portland Initiative.
10) Delta Music Experience Blues Cruises
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. Evening cruise boards at 10:15 p.m. and returns at 1 a.m. Photo ID is required with the exception of children under 12. Tickets are $20. To purchase, visit www.waterfrontbluesfest.com.
• Wednesday, July 4, DME Driftin’ Blues Cruise (afternoon): featuring blues violinist Lionel Young, Boston harmonica ace Mr. Nick & the Dirty Tricks, Russian blues guitarist Arsen Shomakhov.
• Thursday, July 5, DME Rollin’ on the River Dance Cruise (afternoon): A dance cruise aimed at blues/swing dancers of all ages, featuring Delta blues duo Alan Hagar & Katey Angel, Chicago blues by Kevin Selfe & the Tornadoes with harmonica ace Mitch Kashmar, and the retro New Orleans jazz grooves of Devin Phillips’ Black & Blue.
• Friday, July 6, DME Sail on Sister! Cruise (afternoon): Featuring Divas of Soul (Linda Hornbuckle, Rae Gordon, Lady Kat, Sonny Hess, and Lady A); Lauren Sheehan; Lisa Mann & her Really Good Band.
• Saturday, July 7, DME Backwater Juke Cruise (afternoon): Featuring Reggie Houston & Janice Scroggins, Mississippi blues man Cedric Burnside, young St. Louis blues guitarist Marquise Knox, and Portland’s Strange Tones.
• Saturday, July 7, DME Rock the Boat Cruise (evening, open to all ages): Featuring Tribute to Muddy Waters with Bill Rhoades and Jim Wallace, California Honedrops with music made for dancing, sultry jazz and stinging blues with Soulmates.
• Sunday, July 8, DME Highwater Blues Cruise: Featuring Mississippi blues legend Bobby Rush in a stripped-down semi-acoustic setting; Chicago blues from Kilborn Alley; and Portland’s Backyard Blues Boys.
11) United by Music: Showcasing the Power of Music to Inspire
• Sunday, July 8, 1:30 p.m., First Tech Federal Credit Union Stage
United by Music North America is a charitable organization that provides study and performance in blues, swing and jazz for musically talented people with intellectual disabilities. The group aims to improve the quality of life for members of its company and challenge public attitudes about people with intellectual disabilities.
12) A cappella boys choir from Montreal
Petits chanteurs de Mont-Royal, Salmon Springs Fountain,
Wednesday, July 4, 4 to 4:30 p.m.
Petits chanteurs de Mont-Royal, an a cappella boys choir from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, will sing by the Salmon Springs Fountain.