Festival Happenings

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 love music fans of ALL ages at the Waterfront Blues Festival and have fun for the whole family including:
  • Kids dancing lessons
  • A family area and activities
Stay hungry blues fans! The festival has LOTS of delicious bites from Portland’s world famous culinary community —with options for every eater (Omnivores! Vegans! Gluten Free!). Here’s a look at who joined us in 2022:
  • Horn of Africa – East African cuisine featuring lamb and chickens combos | Portland, OR
  • Bates BBQ & Burgers – Tri tip sandwiches, smoked mac n’ cheese and burgers | Creswell, OR
  • Phil’s Bento Bar – Marinated skewers with homemade sauces and seasonings over rice | Portland, OR
  • Smoke & Brine – Smoked meats with paired with pickled and fermented veggies | Portland, OR
  • Nico’s Ice Cream – Local homemade ice cream, featuring Oregon berries | Portland, OR
  • Garbonzos – Falafel bar with fresh salads, chicken and catfish | Portland, OR
  • Lavazza Coffee – Espresso bar | Portland, OR
  • Jackson’s Square – Fried chicken & waffles, po’boys and watermelon | Portland, OR
  • America’s Food Yakisoba – Homemade yakisoba noodles and spring rolls | Portland, OR 
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 out the awesome lineup of vendors in 2022:
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! Learn more about what happened in 2022:
  • Journey to Memphis Finals | Since 1999, the Cascade Blues Association has sent local acts to represent our region in The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. Over the years, that competition, the Journey To Memphis, has selected a terrific collection of some of our area’s top talent. The final round in the competition takes place each year on July 4 on the Front Porch Stage.
  • Kim Field’s Harmonica Blowoff | Kim Field hosts the annual Harmonica Blowoff July 4 on the Front Porch Stage.
  • Conversations at the Crossroads | The Academy Award Winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom chronicles the lives of mega-talented back up singers for some of the most celebrated artists in history. Join us for this special conversation with two stars from the film–Claudia Lennear and Judith Hill, moderated by Judy Tint.
  • Mysti Krewe of Nimbus Second Line | A celebration of those we’ve lost since we’ve last gathered led by Portland’s Mysti Krewe of Nimbus.
  • 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 is proud to present some truly gifted all-ages talent at this year’s Waterfront Blues Festival, with performances and stage crew support on Saturday and Sunday 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!

Blues Cruises

AHOY, BLUES FANS

Want more music? Cruise the beautiful Willamette River and hear the sweet sounds of the blues on the decks of the Portland Spirit for one of our Blues Cruises. Each Blues Cruise features three intimate stages and an all-star lineup. A full bar and food are available for purchase. Lineups and Blues Cruise tickets will be announced in the spring of 2023.