Join Blues Fans from Throughout the World at 22nd Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, July 2-5

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World class festival helps fight hunger. Featuring: Etta James, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Ryan Shaw, Johnny Winter, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Sonny Landreth, Robben Ford, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats and more.

We're seeing thousands of new families walking in the doors of local food pantries...people who have never asked for help before...people who just a few months ago had family-wage jobs and have been laid off

Pack your bags and join blues fans from throughout the world at the 22nd annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union, July 2 to 5, 2009, in Portland, Ore.

Now in its 22nd year, the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi and the second-largest blues festival in the nation. The festival annually attracts more than 100,000 blues fans from throughout the world.

Touted as one of the best-run festivals anywhere, it remains a grassroots festival, operated by Oregon Food Bank -- a nonprofit, charitable organization -- with the help of more than a thousand volunteers.

The Waterfront Blues Festival raises food and funds to help people who are hungry throughout Oregon and southwest Washington. Admission is a donation of $10 plus two cans of food per person, per day.

Kick back on the grassy banks of the beautiful Willamette River at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and enjoy more than 100 stellar performances on four stages including:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

  •     Etta James, one of the greatest female vocalists since Billie Holiday, headlining the festival's opening day;
  •     Grammy-nominated blues-rock guitar virtuoso Robben Ford;
  •     Blues-belter Candye Kane;
  •     Bill Rhoades' annual Harmonica Blow-Off;
  •     The annual Journey to Memphis Competition of up-and-coming regional acts; and well as featured performances by the winners of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis including J.P. Soars & the Red Hots from Florida, Little Joe McLarren from Tulsa, Okla.; Ty Curtis Band from Salem, Ore., (which finished second and earned invitations to play festivals in Canada, Europe and the Carribbean);

Friday, July 3, 2009

  •     Texas blues-rock legend Johnny Winter, headlining a tribute to Gulf Coast blues, soul and funk;
  •     Sonny Landreth, Louisiana-based slide-guitar wizard;
  •     Malford Milligan, acclaimed blues-belter from Austin with his new band, Nation Sack;
  •     Rattlesnake soul with Dave Gonzalez, Mike Barfield and the Stone River Boys;
  •     Florida "Sacred Steel" group, The Lee Boys, a surprise hit at the Waterfront Blues Festival four years ago, who will return with a rousing repertoire of gospel, blues and funk;
  •     Zydeco Swamp Romp, a day-long musical hybrid of Cajun blues with Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, Donna Angelle and Zydeco Posse, dance classes and more on the A&E Stage;

Saturday, July 4, 2009

  •     Harmonica ace Rick Estrin and the Nightcats debuts at the Waterfront Blues Festival the searing new band, assembled since the departure of longtime guitarist Little Charlie Baty;
  •     A reprise of last year's incendiary Battle of the 'Bones, featuring New Orleans' deep-grooving Big Sam's Funky Nation led by former trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Bonerama, the Crescent City's acclaimed four-trombone-frontline rock/funk squad;
  •     Fourth of July Fireworks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

  •     New soul with retro-soul queen Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings; and 27-year-old break-out soul shouter Ryan Shaw on closing night;
  •     Magic Slim and the Teardrops, one of the greatest Chicago blues bands touring today;
  •     Mississippi Delta spotlight, featuring award-winning bluesmen Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, Terry "Harmonica" Bean and veteran blues-soul shouter Terry Evans;
  •     And more.

The Waterfront Blues Festival will also offer its popular delta music experience Blues Cruises on the Willamette River. Tickets for all five blues cruises as well as four-day festival passes, a special Blues Buddy Pass and an exclusive Blues Benefactor Pass will be available soon at via Tickets Oregon.

In addition, the Waterfront Blues Festival plans a Louisiana Pavilion, workshops, interviews, after-hours blues jams, activities for kids and more.

Festival proceeds benefit Oregon Food Bank's mission: to eliminate hunger and its root causes...because no one should be hungry. A $10 donation enables OFB to collect and distribute enough food to fill an emergency food box - a three-to-five day supply of food for a family. Food and fund donations are critical this year as requests for emergency food climb to record levels throughout Oregon and Clark County, Wash.

"We're seeing thousands of new families walking in the doors of local food pantries...people who have never asked for help before...people who just a few months ago had family-wage jobs and have been laid off," said Rachel Bristol, executive director and CEO of Oregon Food Bank. "At the same time, the struggle just gets worse for our senior citizens on declining incomes, the disabled and the poor."

About Oregon Food Bank: Oregon Food Bank distributes donated food throughout a statewide network of more than 915 nonprofit, hunger-relief agencies serving Oregon and Clark County, Wash., and works to eliminate the root causes of hunger through education and advocacy.

About festival sponsors: The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is presented by First Tech Credit Union. Major sponsors include FedEx Corporation, iQ Credit Union, The Oregonian A&E,, Good Neighbor Pharmacy and Travel Portland. Supporting sponsors include Mission Foods, Dreyer's Ice Cream, Dave's Killer Bread, NW Natural, The Boeing Company,, PacificSource Health Plans, Music Millennium, Oregon Potters Association and Cascade Zydeco.

For more information, visit

Note to reporters and editors: A Blues Blog, music samples by festival artists on our Jukebox, video links and downloadable, high-resolution photos are available at

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Jean Kempe-Ware
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