Chamber Music Northwest The Old Church Strings Portland Oregon

Blues Fest Day 2: Mysti Krewe, fiddles too

The skeleton celebrants of Mysti Krewe of Nimbus bring a sweet New Orleans flavor to Portland's annual outdoor bash of the blues.


Members of the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus put on their marching shoes.

Who was that skeleton crew? Day 2 of this year’s Waterfront Blues Festival brought a distinct Louisiana flavor to the downtown Portland riverfront with the marching band Mysti Krewe of Nimbus, Portland’s groove-happy version of a Mardi Gras party. And party they did, in skeleton costumes, bright flaming headbands, and other visual and musical visions. More Louisiana came, too, with the fiddles of Jordain Thibodeaux and friends.

The four-day festival, Portland’s annual Fourth of July week celebration of the blues and roots music, continues through Monday and concludes on Tuesday, July Fourth, with a full day of sounds leading up to a grand fireworks display over the river after dark.

Photographer Joe Cantrell was on hand Sunday at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, catching the moods of performers and audiences alike. Below, you can see the festival through his eyes.

— The Editors

Marching with the Mysti Krewe

Let there by lights, and umbrellas, and a skeleton or two.
This is how you do it: As night falls, Mysti Krewe takes the crowd to skull.

In the Mysti Krewe, sometimes you’re aflame, sometimes you spread your wings.

On the march, Mardi Gras style.
Sunday was Ghouls’ Night Out at the Waterfront Blues Festival.
May I have this dance?
A gathering of the Krewe.

Jourdan Thibodeaux et les Rôdailleurs

Continuing a strong Louisiana theme, fiddler Jourdain Thibodeaux, from ” the blackjack boggy woods of Cypress Island, Louisiana” and friends played the Front Porch Stage.
Leaning into it.
In the music, there is joy to the world.

Sights & sounds among the crowd

Break time by the street art.

Did we mention it’s the Fourth of July week? Eyes on the prize ...

… which, on a hot summer day, just might be a new straw hat …

… or a good quiet spot on the grass to listen and relax …
… or even finding a nice cool spot on the river to look and listen.
Listening intently.
Hat of many colors.
Sometimes your happy place is served with a plate of food …
… and sometimes you just want to raise your hands high and get with the groove.

Meanwhile, back onstage …

Nik West (left) and friend turn up the heat of the South Stage.
Playing washboard with Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie on the Front Porch Stage.
And on the South Stage, getting down with the sound.



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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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