Waterfront Blues Festival: The End

Not with a whimper, but a smile: Joe Cantrell and his camera capture the bliss and satisfaction of Saturday's final 2018 blues festival day.

Photographs and Story by Joe Cantrell

How to characterize the last day of this year’s Waterfront Blues Festival? Traditionally the festival has ended with the fireworks, late night on the 4th of July, but this year we began with Wednesday, the 4th. Thursday sustained, Friday found new energy. Saturday the 6th, still full of people palpably happy to be there, but more laid back, as though this year’s festivities had proven themselves, reached the peak of their oak barrel fermentation, didn’t need to prove nuthin’ to nobody.

Fuller Productions, Peter Damman and the sponsors and crews, having regenerated the miracle of WBF organization and execution at short notice, triumphed.

And so it was, maybe a few tired eyes and slower movement, but a shared notion of “We made it together again, what a trip, wuddn’t it fine!” See you next year.

 


See Joe Cantrell’s complete series from this year’s blues festival


 

The final frames: Faces and the crowd

 

 

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About the author

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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