A $10 donation and two cans of food lets you get that hoodoo groove on

It's sunny. It's warm. It's the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

So you know what that means: We've got the blues.

The 24th Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival kicked off Friday afternoon on the banks of the Willamette River with performances all day this weekend.

• Click here for a schedule of performances at this year's Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival.

The festival is a major fundraiser for the Oregon Food Bank, with admission at $10 and two cans of food per person. The festival, the largest blues event west of the Mississippi, features performances by Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Maceo Parker.

New this year is a 24-by-14-foot video wall, which will feature live performances on the Miller Stage and the First Tech Federal Credit Union Blues Stage. Portland Community College's Media Services heads the production team for the big blues screen.


Read the related story 'Smokin' Blues' in the Tribune's PortlandLife section.

Also new this year: People waiting in line to get into the festival will be entertained by bands. Friday, the Transcendental Brass Band will perform for the queue. Gates open 45 minutes prior to the first performance. On Friday, they open at 2 p.m. They open at noon Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

United by Music begins its 2011 U.S. tour at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. The program, which originated in the Netherlands six years ago, supports talented people with intellectual and physical disabilities and gives them the chance to perform blues and swing music onstage.

Coming from The Netherlands for the festival is Albertine van Walsem, who is in the cast of a Dutch television program. He will appear at the festival on the FedEx Workshop Stage in a United by Music showcase performance, at 3:45 p.m. Monday, July 4. Joining Albertine on stage will be Northwest favorites Karen Lovely, Lady A, Peter Dammann and Mac Potts.

This year, Schnitzer Steel and the festival's Green Team volunteers will help collect and recycle glass, paper, cardboard, wood, metal and plastics. People will drinking beer and wine from compostible cups. EcoShuttle is also providing artists' transportation in Portland.

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