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2012 Waterfront Blues Festival

April 6, 2012

25 years of fighting hunger Portland, Oregon, July 4-8, 2012

Special passes now available at

Festival announces additional headliners Steve Miller Band * Charlie Musselwhite * Elvin Bishop Band with James Cotton Booker T. * James Cotton * Galactic * JJ Grey & Mofro Bobby Rush * Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings * The Mannish Boys * Lionel Young * Curtis Salgado * James Hunter * Otis Taylor Banjo Project * Cedric Watson & Creole Bijou * Cedric Burnside Project * The Stooges Brass Band * Pimps of Joytime * The California Honeydrops * Monophonics * Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie * Marquise Knox … and more!

PORTLAND, Ore. (March 30, 2012) – Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Oregon Food Bank’s Waterfront Blues Festival with the best seat in the house: on stage.

But hurry. Special passes to the 2012 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, July 4-8, 2012, as well as After Hours All-Stars concert are limited. Tickets go on sale today.

The 2012 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union and owned and produced by Oregon Food Bank, a nonprofit charitable organization, is not only the biggest blues bash west of the Mississippi, it’s also Oregon Food Bank’s largest fundraiser.

“We are going all out this year to ‘paint the town blues,’” said Barb Young, community events manager, Oregon Food Bank. “Even the Morrison Bridge across the Willamette River will turn blue to recognize this momentous milestone.”

The festival annually attracts more than 100,000 people from every state in the nation and from throughout the world.

“We expect nearby hotels to fill up quickly this year,” says Young. “So book your rooms now.”

Special Passes
Regular festival entry is a suggested donation of $10 (or more) plus two cans of food (or more) per person per day, making this festival one of the great entertainment bargains of the summer.
100 percent of donations help Oregon Food Bank’s mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes … because no one should be hungry.

But the festival also offers four special passes with different levels of perks, including early entry, on-stage seating, access to special activities during the festival and more.

Costs range from $40 for early-bird purchase of a Five-Day Festival Pass to $1,250 for a Blues Patron Pass that includes on-stage seating on the two main stages. For cost and a full-list of benefits, visit

Festival highlights
This year’s five-day festival kicks off Wednesday, July 4, with a spectacular fireworks show, and runs through Sunday, July 8. Blues fans will enjoy:
• more than 150 stellar performances on four stages,
• eight DME (Delta Music Experience)Blues Cruises on the Willamette River,
• four After Hours All-Stars concerts at the Marriott Hotel Ballroom,
• zydeco, blues and swing dances
• workshops and artist interviews,
• activities for kids
• and more!

“This is a not-to-miss festival,” declared Peter Dammann, this year’s artistic director. “We’ve got an amazing lineup with our strongest closing day ever. And we’ll continue to announce many more performances in the weeks to come. From Charlie Musselwhite to Steve Miller, from Elvin Bishop to Portland’s own Curtis Salgado, from Booker T. to Louisiana’s Galactic, there’s something for everyone.”

Here’s the first day-by-day festival snapshot. Check for the full list of performers, festival schedules, details, updates and more. 

Wednesday, July 4
Festival gates open at 11 a.m. Music begins at noon.

• Harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite. “With unabashed excellence, Charlie Musselwhite and his tight band set the standard for blues bands everywhere.” – Rolling Stone
• Curtis Salgado. Blues Music Awards’ Soul Blues Artist winner in 2010.
• Lionel Young Band. Fiery, electric, blues violinist. International Blues Challenge’s first double-champion.
• Harmonica Blow-Off. Bill Rhoades will host the festival’s 12th annual Harmonica Blow-Off.
• Journey to Memphis competition. To determine which up-and-coming blues act will represent this region at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next February.

Thursday, July 5
Festival gates open at 2 p.m. Music begins at 3 p.m.

• Booker T. Jones. Four-time Grammy winner and one of the most instantly recognizable musical forces.
• JJ Grey & Mofro. Southern swamp rock with undercurrents of Memphis soul.
• The Stooges Brass Band. Innovative and fresh, this New Orleans band blends hip-hop influences with traditional jazz and big-brass emotion.
• Monophonics. Psychedelic soul and funk from San Francisco.
• Joel Savoy, Jesse Lėge and the Cajun Country Revival. Acclaimed young Louisiana fiddler and button-accordionist put a new twist on Cajun honky tonk.

Friday, July 6
Festival gates open at 2 p.m. Music begins at 3 p.m.

• Elvin Bishop. “… careening slide and razor-edged bursts, all delivered with unflagging enthusiasm and wit.” – Rolling Stone
• James Cotton. Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master. A blues giant in every respect.
• Otis Taylor. Guitarist, banjo player and vocalist with a voice of deep emotion and soul.
• The Mannish Boys. Allstar blues and soul band. Includes former members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
• The Pimps of Joytime. Brooklyn self-proclaimed masters of “Janxta Funk.”

Saturday, July 7
Festival gates open at 11 a.m. Music begins at noon.

• Galactic. Hailing from the Crescent City, Galactic always was and will be funk.
• Bobby Rush. One of the most exciting and creative artists in the R&B/blues arena.
• Cedric Burnside Project. Mississippi hill-country blues, funk, R&B and soul music. Winner of the 2010 Blues Music Award for Drummer of the Year.
• Otis Taylor Banjo Project with New Orleans banjo virtuoso Don Vappie and Portland-based slide-guitar and banjo ace Tony Furtado.
• Day-long Zydeco Swamp Romp featuring four-time Grammy nominee Cedric Watson & Creole Bijou; Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie; Corey Ledet and his Zydeco Band; and Dexter Ardoin & Creole Roots.

Sunday, July 8
Festival gates open at 11 a.m. Music begins at noon.

• Steve Miller Band. Returning to his blues roots with “Let Your Hair Down.”
• Roy Rogers & the Delta Rhythm Kings. One of the world’s premier slide guitarists.
• James Hunter. James Hunter has been promoting the revival of classic-era soul for decades.
• The California Honey Drops. Fun, retro-New Orleans horn, funk, blues, soul band. Started playing in Oakland/San Francisco’s BART subway. Voted Bay Area’s Best Soul/R&B Band.
… and more to be announced!  For an up-to-date list of performers, visit

After Hours All-Stars concerts
Tickets to the popular After Hours All-Stars Concerts at the Marriott Hotel Ballroom, across the street from the festival, are also available. Admission is $15. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.  Music begins at 10:30 p.m. 

• Wednesday, July 4: Charlie Musselwhite, Too Slim & the Taildraggers
with Curtis Salgado.
• Thursday, July 5: JJ Grey & Mofro and other acts to be announced.
• Friday, July 6: Pimps of Joytime and other acts to be announced.
• Saturday, July 7: Bobby Rush, James Hunter.

DME Blues Cruise tickets will be available in May.  

For more information:
• Visit
• Subscribe to Blues E-News at
• Like the festival at
• Follow the festival at

During the past 24 years, the festival has grown in both size and reputation and is recognized as one of the nation’s premier blues festival. The 2011 Safeway Blues Festival raised 110,454 pounds of food and a record $930,000 to help fight hunger.

In 2011, Essential Travel magazine, based in London, listed the festival as one of the Top 10 USA Festivals. In 2009, Outside magazine listed the festival as one of the Top 10 Outdoor Festivals. The festival is the winner of the prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the international Blues Foundation and the recipient of the Ovation Award from the Oregon Festivals & Events Association as Oregon’s Best Festival, Civic Celebration or Community Event.

Festival sponsors  
The 2012 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival is presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union.

Major sponsors include: FedEx, KIA Motors, iQ Credit Union, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Schnitzer Steel, Deschutes Brewery, The Oregonian, Supporting sponsors include: Schwindt & Co., Regal Cinemas, The Boeing Company, and Delta Music Experience (DME).
About Oregon Food Bank

Oregon Food Bank believes no one should be hungry. With sufficient public will and support of the entire community, we believe it is possible to eliminate hunger and its root causes.

Since 1982, Oregon Food Bank has been leading the fight against hunger in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., by collecting and distributing food through a network of four OFB branches and 16 independent regional food banks.
The OFB Network helps nearly 1 in 5 households fend off hunger. OFB also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and to eliminate the root causes of hunger through advocacy, nutrition education, garden education and helping communities strengthen local food systems.

For more information, visit


Note to reporters: Visit for downloadable, high-resolution photos in the news section in the news media kit.

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