Festival Happenings

On the Grounds


Celebrate the Fourth of July with us and downtown Portland’s only large-scale fireworks display! We’re thrilled to return to our annual tradition of a sensational fireworks display over the mighty waters of the Willamette River. Set to a soundtrack of classic blues, soul and funk this is a Fourth of July celebration you won’t wanna miss!


We are welcoming back our series, Wellness On The Waterfront in partnership with our friends at Knot Springs, Portland’s wellness social club centered on health and good times. Wellness On The Waterfront offers morning wellness classes at the Front Porch Stage. All classes are $17 per person and start at 9:30 am (60 min).

• Power Flow Yoga with Aurora – Saturday, July 6 | This class connects breath to movement through flow-based sequencing. Flow Yoga builds body awareness and strength for students looking for faster-paced yoga. All levels welcome! Bring your mat if you have one (we’ll also have a few on hand for you to borrow!).

• Cardio Dance with Sunny – Sunday, July 7 | Cardio Dance gives you an opportunity to connect with your body, move with your breath and raise your heart rate. Start with mindful warm-ups and evolve to choreographed movement matched with song. Throughout this guided class, you will feel empowered to move in ways that feel powerful to you. No previous dance experience needed; simply bring a pair of shoes you can move in. This class will be accompanied by three world-class percussionists from Portland Afro-pop group, Jujuba: Nojeem (Nigerian master talking-drummer), Alex (Ghanaian master drummer), and Jeff (supporting percussion).


As if four stages over four days with 100+ acts wasn’t enough – we’ve got even MORE musical stylings at the festival. From a harmonica blowoff to intimate workshops there’s so much to explore! 

  • Journey to Memphis Finals | From Blues Fest to Beale Street! Have you ever wanted to play at the Blues Fest? Does your favorite local blues band deserve a spot in the bright lights? Since 1999, the Cascade Blues Association has been hosting a contest, Journey to Memphis, to send local acts to represent our region at The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.  The finals are hosted on the Festival’s Front Porch Stage. And if winning isn’t exciting enough, the Waterfront Blues Festival always commits to booking the Journey to Memphis winning acts to play on the main stages at the following year’s festival. Check back soon to learn about this year’s competition.

  • Kim Field’s Harmonica Blowoff | Internationally known harmonica ace Kim Field will return to the Waterfront Blues Festival as the host of the annual Harmonica Blowoff. Field has assembled an all-star bill of harmonica wizards, including Hank Shreve, Steve Bailey, and Nic Clark, all backed up by Field’s world-class band, the Perfect Gentlemen.

  • Crossroads Conversations | These specially curated conversations connect fans with the movers and shakers in the music industry.

  • Friends of Noise Showcase | Friends of Noise (FoN) is a non-profit arts organization built on the values of collectivism and restorative justice. FoN seeks to transform the culture of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth access to the music industry, by hosting all-ages concerts throughout Portland, providing professional development for teen sound engineers, and empowering youth to advocate for themselves. FoN will present some truly gifted all-ages talent at the Waterfront Blues Festival, with performances and stage crew support at the Crossroads Stage.


We know y’all like to shake what your momma gave you and we are here for it! Whether you’re an all-star boogier or new to the dance floor – we can’t wait to get down with you at the fest. Each year the Front Porch Stage hosts a variety of dance lessons from West Coast Swing to Zydeco, and everything in between. Rather sit back and watch the professionals? We are happy to host the Portland Blues Experience dance prelims too! Check back here closer to the fest for the full schedule.


Forgot your sunglasses? Need a hat (or some earrings made of guitar picks)? Wanna take home a little piece of Oregon? We’ve got you, friends! Check back soon to see who will be at the festival. 


We love our Blues Fest families and we’ve got a whole super fun area for families to gather at the fest – The Playin’ Ground. In collaboration with our friends at Mike Bennett Studios and Bennett Buddies, The Playin’ Ground will feature new Bennett Buddies characters, music activities, art, face painting, kids dance lessons and more. Be sure to check back in mid-June for a full schedule of family fun activities at The Playin’ Ground! 

And don’t forget, thanks to our friends at Buick GMC of Beaverton kids 12 and under get in free to the festival.

Blues Cruises


Cruise the beautiful Willamette River and hear the sweet sounds of live music on the decks of the Portland Spirit presented by Kona Big Wave. Each Blues Cruise features three intimate stages and an all-star lineup. A full bar and food are available for purchase. Check out the lineups and set sail this summer!

  • Wednesday, July 3 | Blues Fest Kickoff Cruise with Duffy Bishop • Reggie Houston’s Krewe de Blues • Curtis Salgado & Alan Hager
  • Thursday, July 4 | Rollin’ on the River Cruise with Diggin Dirt • Vintage Soul with Lloyd Jones • Ellen Whyte & Garry Meziere
  • Friday, July 5 | Bayou Blues Cruise with Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble • Bon Bon Vivant • QuEasy Gumbo
  • Saturday, July 6 | Sail on Sister, A Blues Fest Cares Cruise, benefiting The JWF Musician Health & Services Program with Northwest Women Rhythm & Blues • Mary Flower Trio • Taylor Newville & Ty Curtis
  • Sunday, July 7 | Rock the Boat, A Blues Fest Cares Cruise, benefiting Meals on Wheels People with The Chris O’Leary Band • Dustbowl Revival • Tevis Hodge Jr. & Johnny Ward


Stay hungry and come thirsty blues fans! The festival has LOTS of delicious bites and beverages from Portland’s world-famous culinary community —with options for every eater (Omnivores! Vegans! Gluten Free!) and drinker (beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic). Check back soon for the festival’s menu.



Catch us popping up all around Portland before the festival! To stay in the know about all of our community concerts and events, sign up for our newsletter.


Wednesday, June 7 | 5-7 pm | 8371 N Interstate Ave

In partnership with our friends at Oregon Contemporary and Friends of Noise featuring The Gold Experience with Saeeda Wright + Della Simone, this free community concert will be held in Oregon Contemporary’s beautiful outdoor courtyard (rain or shine).

A special thanks to the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust for their support.


Wednesday, June 14 | 6-8 pm | 33 NE 3rd Ave

In partnership with our friends at Knot Springs and The Yard featuring Outer Orbit, this free community concert will be held on the lovely outdoor deck of Knot Springs and The Yard (rain or shine).


Wednesday, June 21 | 5-7 pm | 8371 N Interstate Ave

In partnership with our friends at Oregon Contemporary and Friends of Noise featuring Norman Sylvester Band with Lenanne Sylvester + Earl Gracious Band, this free community concert will be held in Oregon Contemporary’s beautiful outdoor courtyard (rain or shine).

A special thanks to the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust for their support.


Saturday, June 24 | 6:45 pm | Ron Tonkin Stadium

Don’t miss Blue Fest legend Rae Gordon belting out the National Anthem at the Hops game. We’ll also be giving away free tickets to the Blues Fest at the game! Get tickets here.


Sunday, June 25 | 1:30 – 3:30 pm | 4138 NE Cully Blvd

As part of the festivies for the Cully Neighborhood Sunday Parkways ride, we’re teaming up with our friends at Nico’s Cantina for all of your post-ride fun, featuring LaRhonda & the Steele Family Band. Music, tacos, ice cream- what more could you want?!


Sunday, June 25 | 6:05 pm | Walker Stadium

Don’t miss Blue Fest legend LaRhonda Steele belting out the National Anthem at the Pickles game (and be welcomed at the gates with The BrassRoots Movement!). We’ll also be giving away free tickets to the Blues Fest at the game! Get tickets here.


The music plays on after the fest gates close at our Official Late Night Shows! We are excited to partner with The Jack London Revue and the Blue Diamond for this year’s shows. Check back here in the spring for the Late Night show schedule.