Every Fourth of July weekend, the Waterfront Blues Festival takes over downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park. This Independence Day celebration of America’s most heartfelt musical genre has featured masters like the Steve Miller Band, Mavis Staples, Buddy Guy, Booker T, Lucinda Williams, Robert Plant, Taj Mahal Trio and more alongside acclaimed upstarts.
Wailing into the waters of the Willamette since 1987, this annual event is the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi and second biggest in the U.S. Five days of music bring thousands to the popular Portland park, where more than 80 acts jam from morning until night.
Midnight blues cruises and after-hours shows help spread the music all over town. But, no doubt, the biggest scene is on the waterfront, where festive sunbathers soak in the tunes, stretch out on blankets and dance on the grass while the talented musicians fill the air with blues and everything benefits the Oregon Food Bank.