Last weekend, Portland’s 24th annual Waterfront Blues Festival turned Tom McCall’s Waterfront Park into a writhing whirlpool of dancing humanity. By 10pm on Monday, the event had raked in $726,000 and 61,250 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank in its ongoing quest to end hunger in Oregon.
During all four days, the capacity crowd enjoyed local acts from our own prodigious talent pool as well as heavy hitters like Lucinda Williams, Maceo Parker and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, bobbing their heads and stomping their feet as irresistably soulful tunes reverberated through the air.
Portland Monthly caught as many of the 125 acts as we could. We braved the long lines for 12 oz plastic cups of Mirror Pond, held our breath in the designated Port o’ Potty area, and yes, we were just as enamored with that miniature light-up helicopter on Saturday night as you were. While we experienced our share of funky tunes and passionate performances, we were equally struck by the crowd’s dance moves, the likes of which we hadn’t seen since Merton Hanks.
Photographer McKenna Johnson captured some great moments, so crank up Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears, reapply that Aloe, and relive some of this weekend’s stand out performances with our exclusive slideshow. In 2012, the fest will celebrate its 25th anniversary by expanding to fill a whole five days.