Oregon Cultural Trust

Blues Fest 3: Let the good times roll

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOE CANTRELL


A lot of Louisiana took the stage on Saturday in Day Three of the Waterfront Blues Festival – groups as redolent of New Orleans and bayou country as Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Lil’ Pookie & the Zydeco Sensations, Mysti Krewe Mardi Gras Parade, and Chubby Carrier & His Bayou Swamp Band – and the roux got spicy and a little rowdy in the crowd, too, which took on a loose, decorative Mardi Gras flair. The music was terrific, but things got free and easy and party-down in the audience, too, which drifted easily and happily into putting on a show of its own. As photographer Joe Cantrell, who’s been busily documenting the entire four-day festival, put it: “This evening was one of the BEST hours of people-shooting ever!”

This year’s festival wraps up on Sunday with a full day of music and scene-making in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, from morning to night: more zydeco and Cajun from the likes of Carrier and Lil’ Pookie and Taylor and the up-and-coming Feufollet and the eagerly awaited Trombone Shorty, with a little bit of Tennessee tossed into the pot from Memphis Shorty’s Harmonica Hoedown. If anything, expect the groove to get a little looser and the partying a little rowdier yet. Your single-day tickets – $25 at the gate – get you into the party for the entire day, until after dark, and in addition to paying for the musicians and the music, help support the nonprofit Sunshine Division, which distributes food and clothing to people in the metropolitan area who need them.

Cantrell was on site once again all day long on Saturday, focusing his lens on the acts onstage and, more often, on the show in the crowd. Some highlights from his Day Three shoots:


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Photo Joe Cantrell

I spent my first 21 years in Tahlequah, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, assuming that except for a few unfortunate spots, ‘everybody’ was part Cherokee, and son of the soil. Volunteered for Vietnam because that’s what we did. After two stints, hoping to gain insight, perhaps do something constructive, I spent the next 16 years as a photojournalist in Asia, living much like the lower income urban peasants and learning a lot. Moved back to the USA in 1986, tried photojournalism and found that the most important subjects were football and basketball, never mind humankind. In 1992, age 46, I became single dad of my 3-year-old daughter and spent the next two decades working regular jobs, at which I was not very good, to keep a roof over our heads, but we made it. She’s retail sales supervisor for Sony, Los Angeles. Wowee! The VA finally acknowledged that the war had affected me badly and gave me a disability pension. I regard that as a stipend for continuing to serve humanity as I can, to use my abilities to facilitate insight and awareness, so I shoot a lot of volunteer stuff for worthy institutions and do artistic/scientific work from our Cherokee perspective well into many nights. Come along!

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