Thank you for joining us for the 35th anniversary of the Waterfront Blues Festival! We can’t wait to see you next year Saturday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

Thank you for joining us for the 35th anniversary of the Waterfront Blues Festival! We can’t wait to see you next year Saturday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

Thank you for joining us for the 35th anniversary of the Waterfront Blues Festival! We can’t wait to see you next year Saturday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2023 and be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to get all your 2023 WBF news!

The 2022 Headliners

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band

Day 3

South Stage

9:00 PM

Presented by Bank of America

Taj Mahal doesn’t wait for permission. If a sound intrigues him, he sets out to make it. If origins mystify him, he moves to trace them. If rules get in his way, he unapologetically breaks them. To Taj, convention means nothing, but traditions are holy. He has pushed music and culture forward, all while looking lovingly back.

“I just want to be able to make the music that I’m hearing come to me — and that’s what I did,” Taj says. The 76-year-old is home in Berkeley, reflecting on six decades of music-making. “When I say, ‘I did,’ I’m not coming from the ego. The music comes from somewhere. You’re just the conduit it comes through. You’re there to receive the gift.”

Taj is a towering musical figure — a legend who transcended the blues not by leaving them behind, but by revealing their magnificent scope to the world. “The blues is bigger than most people think,” he says. “You could hear Mozart play the blues. It might be more like a lament. It might be more melancholy. But I’m going to tell you: the blues is in there.”

Taj, making his fourth trip to Waterfront, is backed by his longtime collaborators, The Phantom Blues Band, an internationally renowned two-time, Grammy award-winning group in its own right whose members have toured and recorded with Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Cray, and Buddy Guy.

Day 3

South Stage

9:00 PM

Day 3

South Stage

9:00 PM

Grace Potter

Day 1

South Stage

9:00 PM

Presented by Bud Light Seltzer

Potter’s voice alone should be reason enough to pay attention to her. She has been heralded as one of the greatest living vocalists in rock music, and that point remains arguable on Daylight, where that raspy force shines on every single note.” Paste Magazine

Since her rocket ride to fame started in 2002, Grace Potter has played every major music festival from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo and Rock in Rio, and launched her own thriving festival, Burlington, VT’s Grand Point North. She has shared a stage with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, the Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples, and The Roots. A three-time Grammy-nominated artist (two for 2019’s Daylight, one for her multiplatinum duet with Kenny Chesney “You & Tequila”), Potter has also collaborated with The Flaming Lips for a Tim Burton film, and has written and produced music for film and TV, including Disney’s animated feature Tangled. Her powerful vocals and bluesy roots-rock and skills on guitar and Hammond B3 have put her in a class of her own.

Day 1

South Stage

9:00 PM

Day 1

South Stage

9:00 PM

The-Wood-Brothers_Alysse-Gafkjen

The Wood Brothers

Day 2

South Stage

9:00 PM

Presented by Buick GMC of Beaverton

Dubbed “masters of soulful folk” by Paste, The Wood Brothers formed after brothers Chris and Oliver Wood pursued separate musical careers for 15 years. Chris already had a huge following for his work with Medeski Martin & Wood, while Oliver toured with Tinsley Ellis before releasing a half-dozen albums with his band King Johnson. 

The Wood Brothers released their debut on legendary label Blue Note in 2006 and went on to join Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Artists for two more albums. In 2016, the band recorded Live At The Barn at Levon Helm’s famed Woodstock Barn, where the sold-out performance showcased the singularly eclectic and electrifying performance style that’s earned them devoted legions of fans. The band’s sixth album, One Drop of Truth, got a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Americana Album.” The band’s unique “atmospheric and spiritual” sound led STL Blues to announce that. “The Wood Brothers are to Mississippi John Hurt as Mofro is to Son House.”

 

Day 2

South Stage

9:00 PM

Day 2

South Stage

9:00 PM

Galactic
Galactic-Press

Galactic featuring Anjelika 'Jelly' Joseph

Day 1

Buick GMC of Beaverton Blues Stage

8:00 PM

Presented by EcoShuttle

History doesn’t stand still. It impacts, influences, and inspires the ebb and flow of the future by informing the present. Galactic draw on 25 years together in order to progress with each performance and subsequent record. After 10 albums, over 2,000 gigs, and tens of millions of streams, the proud New Orleans, LA quintet—Ben Ellman [saxophone, harmonica], Robert Mercurio [bass], Stanton Moore [drums, percussion], Jeffrey Raines [guitar], and Richard Vogal [keyboards]—have kept the torch burning through five U.S. presidential regimes, the turn-of-the-century, Hurricane Katrina, a Global Pandemic, and a much-anticipated recovery. They’re the rare collective who can support Juvenile on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, contribute music to a blockbuster soundtrack such as Now You See Me, and light up the stages of Coachella, Bonnaroo, and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (a staggering 22 times).

Galactic will be fronted by vocal powerhouse Anjelika ‘Jelly’ Joseph, a vocalist whose work with New Orleans’ breakout group, Tank and the Bangas, drew well-deserved notice.

Day 1

Buick GMC of Beaverton Blues Stage

8:00 PM

Galactic
Galactic-Press

Galactic featuring Anjelika 'Jelly' Joseph

Day 1

Buick GMC of Beaverton Blues Stage

8:00 PM

Day 1

Buick GMC of Beaverton Blues Stage

8:00 PM

Lettuce

Day 4

South Stage

9:00 PM

Presented by 10 Barrel Brewing

Lettuce is (a) the prime ingredient in a salad, (b) a slang for cash, (c) a green herb that can be smoked, (d) a genre-busting six-member funk, jazz, soul, psychedelic, hip-hop and rock collective formed in 1992 by four alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, or (e) all of the above.

If you answered “e,” then you’re on to the ever-changing musical palette and all-inclusive goals of Lettuce and their ongoing re-interpretation of the band’s name as “Let Us.” In their earliest days as students, they would roam the cities of the Northeast, and implore others to “let us play.”

Guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff compares the group’s eclectic, free-wheeling approach to “the modern NBA and its position-less basketball.” It is endlessly creative, allowing for innovation and interpretation. Trumpet and horn player Eric “Benny” Bloom notes, “This isn’t just a funk band…We’re playing every style of music in every song. You can’t categorize it. We have the freedom to do whatever we want that’s appropriate for the song.”

That magic continues to grow with the band’s new album, Elevate, a democratic ensemble in which there is no leader, but a complete unit that functions as a single entity, with plenty of moving parts.

Day 4

South Stage

9:00 PM

Day 4

South Stage

9:00 PM

Femi Kuti
Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, Featuring Mádé Kuti

Day 4

South Stage

5:00 PM

Presented by PrintWorks

Femi Kuti, heir to one of Africa’s most important musical dynasties, is the eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, and a grandchild of a political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat Funmilayo Ransome Kuti. He grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and his musical career started at 15 when he began playing in his father’s band, Egypt 80, in 1979.

Femi started his own band, Positive Force, in 1986, and was joined by his sisters Yeni and Sola (as the lead dancers) and began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father’s massive legacy. In 2000, he opened The Shrine, his club, where he recorded the live album Africa Shrine. He won a Monaco “World Music Award” that same year.

After a four-year absence due to personal setbacks, he re-emerged in 2008 with Day by Day and Africa for Africa in 2010, for which he received two Grammy nominations. In 2012, he was both inducted into the Headies Hall of Fame (the most prestigious music awards in Nigeria), was the opening act on the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ European Tour, and became an Ambassador for Amnesty International. He continued to expand the diversity of his artistry on his 2021 album Legacy+, earning two more Grammy nominations.

Like his father, Femi has shown a strong commitment to social and political causes throughout his career and continues to fight for a free and fair Nigeria.

Day 4

South Stage

5:00 PM

Day 4

South Stage

5:00 PM

Check out who hit the waterfront in 2022!

Togetherness is the blues

Gather your friends, chairs, and vibes! Experience the fun and creativity that the blues has to offer.

Togetherness is the blues

Gather your friends, chairs, and vibes! Experience the fun and creativity that the blues has to offer.

Beyond the blues

Delicious bites, drinks, and good times for everyone.
The festival fun goes beyond the music.

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The venue

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

July 1-4, 2023
11:00 am – 10:30 pm 

1400 SW Naito Parkway,
Portland, OR 97201

The Waterfront Blues Festival takes place at the gorgeous Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and features four stages among eight acres of the park. Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2023 to come relax on the banks of the Willamette River and enjoy the music with us!

Venue Image

The venue

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

July 1-4, 2023
11:00 am – 10:30 pm 

1400 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97201

Venue Image

The Waterfront Blues Festival takes place at the gorgeous Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and features four stages among eight acres of the park. Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2023 to come relax on the banks of the Willamette River and enjoy the music with us!

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