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 2014 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival will begin in May.


How long are the volunteer shifts?
Most Volunteer shifts are about 4 hours long. Specific times and lengths will be available when registration begins. Please check back at that time.


Do spots fill quickly?
Volunteer shifts are filled on a first come first served basis and spots can fill quickly. We encourage you 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.


How much does it cost to get into the festival?
Please check back soon!  Tickets go on sale mid-April. 


Do volunteers have to pay the suggested donation to get in?
We encourage you to donate, but a donation is not required. 100 percent of your donation directly benefits Oregon Food Bank’s work to eliminate hunger and its root causes in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. Your $10 donation at the festival gates allows Oregon Food Bank to collect and distribute about 40 pounds of food, equivalent to 30 meals.

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. Please see the Festival Map for details.

Where do I check in?

All Volunteers enter at the Ramp Gate. Please see the Festival Map for details.

The Volunteer Tent is located next to the Police Memorial — off Naito Parkway, at the Ramp Gate, which is south of the Hawthorne Bridge. Look for the “Volunteer Check In” sign.

If you volunteer on more than one day of the festival, you are required to check in each day.

We’ll direct you to a staging area, where you will assemble with other volunteers on your shift. Once everyone has arrived, we will escort your team to your 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?

Leave your valuables at home because we don’t have a place to store your belongings.

Can I drink alcohol while volunteering?

No. Oregon Food Bank has a zero-tolerance policy for all staff and 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 20 Regional Food Banks. Every month, an estimated 260,000 people eat meals from an emergency food box.

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. Anyone interested in volunteering at the Festival is required to sign up as an individual on the Waterfront Blues Festival volunteer application beginning Tuesday, May 28, at 10 a.m.

Are there volunteer shifts where I can sit down?
We greatly appreciate your desire to help out our community! Due to the complexity of the Blues Festival logistics, including the number of attendees, the location of the festival, and the confined volunteer work areas, we are unable to guarantee ‘sit-down’ volunteer opportunities of opportunities in complete shade.  Due to these considerations, we are also unable to allow volunteers to bring service animals to volunteer shifts.  Learn about volunteer job descriptions and requirements.

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?
Yes. We welcome and encourage everyone who loves blues music and Oregon Food Bank to volunteer! Age restrictions vary depending on the shift you select. All shifts have a minimum age of sixteen years old.

Youth release forms are required for volunteers under 18. Please use the special comment box on the application to add the name of the child or parent you need to be scheduled with.

Have other questions?
If you have any questions, please e-mail

The Waterfront Blues Festival can't succeed without the dedicated efforts of more than 1,500 volunteers!

See you at the festival!