On July 3 – 7, 2010, First Tech Credit Union presented the 23rd Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon, and the 2 ½ hour ride on the back of a Honda Gold Wing Motorcycle from Seattle, Washington was well worth it.
From Trombone Shorty on the Miller Stage to Zydeco on the Oregonian Front Porch Stage, stellar performances helped make the festival a huge success, and the music offered something fun for everyone. To top it off, a cash donation of $10 (or more) and two cans (or more) of non-perishable food is all it took to relax on the grassy banks of the Willamette River.
Since 1988 this event has been a fundraiser in support of the Oregon Food Bank and has become one of the largest blues festivals west of the Mississippi, with more than 100,000 people in attendance, and spotlighting more than 120 blues artist from throughout the world including Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. With three main stages performers included: Taj Mahal, John Mayall, Booker T., Michael Burks Band with Lucky Peterson, Janiva Magness, Little Feat, Commander Cody, Galactic with Cyril Neville, JJ Grey & Mofro, Trombone Shorty, Super Chikan & The Fighting Cocks, Walter Trout, Chris Thomas King, Cedrick Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm, Moreland and Arbuckle, Mingo Fishtrap, Porter Davis, Norton Buffalo’s Knockouts, Kara Grainger from Australia, Baskery from Sweden, Paul Cebar and Curtis Salgado, just to name a few, followed by several Delta Music Experience Blues Cruises on the Willamette River.
Although the festival was located in Downtown Portland, it was like being right in the heart of the Delta Swamp or N’awlins. “Zydeco Diva” Donna Angelle & Zydeco Posse packed the Oregonian Front Stage with a variety of styles such as Zydeco, Oldie Soul, and Hip-Hop while the audience danced rhythmically back and forth to the electrifying sounds of the accordion, as well as the Zydeco Rub-board, a corrugated metal washboard.
On the Miller Stage, legendary blues singer Bobby Rush and his sizzling hot, big-booty shaking dancers brought the house down with high energy “folk funk” and “soul ” that made the audience leave their spots and gravitate quickly towards the stage for a better view.
Later on Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble kept “it” moving with Zydeco funk as dancers on stage and in the audience rocked the Zydeco Swing on the simulated dance floor left of the stage.
Mingo Fishtrap took the audience back and gave them a dose of Tower of Power, Otis Redding and the Neville Brothers when the lead singer belted out a mix of jazzy, gut-bucket soul and blues to sounds of the Fishtrap Horns.
A string of food and wine vendors from Dave’s Killer Bread to Creole, Cajun, Asian, and African food were spread out among the three stages with reasonable prices and excellent food. The highlight of the event included a spectacular fireworks display on the Willamette River on July 4th. With good entertainment, scrumptious food, great wine and beer, and absolutely big ole fun for under $20.00 a day, what more is there to ask?
Travels on the way back from Portland to Seattle on the back of the Honda Gold Wing Motorcycle happened to be the best seat for snapping beautiful scenic pictures of nature. Terrific views of white fluffy clouds forming patterns in the blue skies, and rippling streams surrounding beautiful landscape was breathtaking. Once again, the beautiful bright sunshine mixed with a soft warm breeze made a long ride safe and pleasurable.