Portland blues fans in search of historical perspective will get just that on Thursday's opening night of the 16th annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. The festival stretches from about Salmon to Clay streets in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Director Martin Scorsese's PBS series, 'The Blues,' will be excerpted, starting at 10 p.m. A 1 3/4-hour digest of the first five PBS shows on the history of the blues will air when the evening's music concludes on the festival's A&E Front Porch Stage.
It's a surprise treat, says Bill Foster, director of the Northwest Film Center.
'The cut version of the series has been playing film festivals this year, and I saw it at Sundance (Film Festival),' he says. 'I asked if we could screen it, and they said sure.'
The Scorsese feature is a nice bonus for a festival that's been cut from five days in 2002 to four this year and which represents a huge effort to benefit the Oregon Food Bank.
Last year, 120,000 attendees raised more than $310,000 and donated 115,000 pounds of canned food to the food bank. Admission is $5 a day and two cans of food per person.
This year's event is dedicated to women in blues and will feature 100 acts on three stages and four blues cruises (up from one last year). The event is headlined by blues/jazz/soul diva Etta James on Sunday, July 6.
Taj Mahal & the Hula Blues Band has top billing Thursday.
(MS is the Miller Stage; CU is the Credit Union Stage; FP is the Front Porch Stage; and HW is the Household Workshop Stage)
5-6 p.m. Ð Lori Bouck and the Interpreters (MS)
5-5:45 p.m. Ð John Ward and Whit Draper (FP)
5-6 p.m. Ð Aric Riley and Katie Angel (HW)
6-6:45 p.m. Ð Quetzal (CU)
6-7 p.m. Ð David Jacobs-Strain (FP)
6:45-7:30 p.m. Ð Blues piano for kids: David Moore (HW)
6:45-7:45 p.m. Ð North Mississippi Allstars (MS)
7:15-8:15 p.m. Ð Ruthie Foster w/Cyd Cassone (FP)
7:45-8:45 p.m. Ð Walter Trout and the Radicals (CU).
8:30-9:45 p.m. Ð Jody Williams with Paris Slim Band (FP)
8:45-10 p.m. Ð John Ward and Whit Draper: prewar blues harp (HW)
8:45-10 p.m. Ð Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band (MS)
10-11:45 p.m. Ð Reel Blues: 'The Blues,' Martin Scorsese (FP)
10-10:45 p.m. Ð Cruise busker Dylan-Thomas Vance (PS)
11 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Ð Hoodoo Moon Blues Cruise with Jody Williams, Paris Slim, Michael Burks, Ruthie Foster, Cyd Cassone, David Jacobs-Strain (PS)
Other stars during the four-day festival include young spitfire Susan Tedeschi and veteran rocker Steve Miller in an unfamiliar role as sidekick to slide guitar master Roy Rogers and blues harp ace Norton Buffalo.
A story on acts featured Friday through Sunday will be in the Cue section of Friday's Tribune.