Waterfront Blues Festival: Day 3

In the third of four days at the sprawling outdoor blues party, photographer Joe Cantrell catches the action onstage and wades into the crowd

Photographs and Story by Joe Cantrell

Friday, July 6, at the Waterfront Blues Festival. This year’s third day of music reminding us how much there is to celebrate in and about the USA, dance lessons naming the African countries, the steps came from, and the first night’s blues dance contest finalists: Three lesbian couples, two mixed-race couples, and one apparently straight white couple. We really did all win in many of the ways that matter.

See Photo First: glorious blue Fourth, Joe Cantrell’s photographs and essay on the Waterfront Blues Festival’s opening day, July 4, and Waterfront Blues Festival: Day 2, his visual report on July 5’s scene. The festival, in downtown Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park, concludes with a full day and evening of shows on Saturday, July 7.

Day crowds are often sparse until after 5 p.m., but the deep-happy of the performers, dancers and audiences being One abides. There’s a visible communication among them; good stuff.

Seeing the evening out with The Mavericks.

Last act of the day, The Mavericks, brought on a full house and took them to a wondrous place . Their lead singer, Raul Malo, sang The Times, They Are a’Changing solo acoustic with power and fervency that transformed the entire end of the waterfront to a sacred place: Well howdy do, 1968! Yep, we’re in deep trouble again, dear people. Worse. We have to deal with this; things are inhumanly ugly in our names. Amen.

Most of The Mavericks’ performance used electric instruments, neat lights and smoke, of course, and your reporter cannot remember hearing better anywhere. We all rose together. Bravo.


Faces onstage












… and faces in the crowd

















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