A cause with soul
Once a year for the last seven, one of Troutdale's most impressive estates becomes a concert venue where thousands of people gather for a cause: to fight cancer.
Everything about the Soulful Giving Foundation's Blanket Concert has a community feel, says Staci Sigala, the foundation's event coordinator. Blankets, sand chairs and food vendors cover the estate's lawn, where nearly 5,000 people will gather to hear retro bands from across the region throughout the day.
Local philanthropist and businessman Junki Yoshida and his wife, Linda, began the Foundation after losing close business associates, friends and family members to cancer. The Blanket Concert, slated for Saturday, Aug. 5, raises money for programs at both Randall Children's Hospital and Providence Cancer Center.
Food options at the carts are numerous and include: Fireside Grill, Chicken and Guns, The Dump Truck and Oodles of Noodles.
El Gaucho, Morton's, Salty's on the Columbia, Tree's Restaurant and Catering, Urban Fondue, Brix Tavern, Swank and Swine, La Bamba, Nicholas, Gilda's, The Riverview and a flaming calamari stand will occupy the VIP food pavilion. Subzero Ice Cream and Yogurt will return with a booth for the second year.
Attendees also have the option to bid on auction items, but Linda Yoshida notes that spending additional money once you get to the concert is completely optional.
"No matter what you're spending your money on that day, you know that 100 percent is going to cancer research," Sigala said. "This event has the ability to raise money and have fun at same time."
It could seem to some like a pretty big personal undertaking to open your backyard every year for such a huge event, but Yoshida says she relishes the opportunity to share the grounds with visitors and "unbelievable" bands.
"We love opening up our home when we can," she said. "I feel like we're people in the community that have this beautiful property, we hate to keep to ourselves; we love to share it."
Below is the lineup of the Blanket Concert, as well as some details on each of the bands:
Though their name is technically a nod to a Wang Chung hit, founder and vocalist/bassist Colby Hendricks says his band Dancehall Days doesn't just gravitate toward '80s hits. Because the two other lead singers are women — twin sisters, in fact — Hendricks says Dancehall Days is suited to play Fleetwood Mac, but he says anything from country to pop to smooth jazz is fair play.
"Only rule we have is that it has to be a good song, because most of time were playing to entertain ourselves," Hendricks said. "We'd get bored otherwise."
With literally hundreds of covers in a variety of genres to choose from, it's a sure thing that this band, one of three first-timers at the Blanket Concert, will get the audience to its feet.
Portland-based Goldfoot formed out of a jam session in late 2013 "in an old dusty woodshop in Southeast Portland." Singer/guitarist Trevor Forbess says his band, whose recent single is "Feel Like Dancin'," is influenced by Pink Floyd, Prince and the Bee Gees, among other upbeat retro acts.
All of Goldfoot's seven members are Oregon natives, and they are the second of three new bands to play the Blanket Concert.
Barracuda (Heart tribute)
All Fired Up (Pat Benatar tribute)
The "officially endorsed" Heart tribute band, Barracuda, fronted by D.L. Car and Brenda Cashmere, will return to the Blanket Concert stage. And this year, fans of the band are in for a double feature. After a quick costume change, Car dons a short wig and appears as Benatar for another tribute set.
Barracuda's manager, Murray McVay, says this quick transition can sometimes trip audiences up, in a good way.
"A lot of people will see the show and (Car), my wife, will come out and do Pat Benatar. She just nails it. And then after a costume change she comes out again as Heart," McVay said. "Once this one lady goes, 'How did you ever get two such amazing singers?'"
Another new performer to grace the Yoshida Estate stage, Haley Johnsen is a Portland-native artist who describes her sound as "always evolving," but currently most vibes with "vintage pop rock."
Johnsen says she's always loved to sing, but really became serious about a career in music after appearing on American Idol.
"It wasn't until I immersed myself with other songwriters that I began to develop a passion for learning and growing as musician," she said. "Being on American Idol was a huge catalyst for me and helped me to believe that music was my calling, and I haven't looked back!"
Stone in Love (Journey tribute)
Drummer Jason Fellman admits that Stone in Love formed sort of by accident, but that after they got such a good reception from audiences after their first few shows, they went with it.
"I can't think of a time we didn't get good response" he said, adding that though Stone in Love's sound is tight, it doesn't hurt that they're covering "just a really, really popular band."
"It's easier to hit a home run when you're playing on third base," he notes.
Though you might think a Journey cover band would grow tired of playing their mega-hit "Don't Stop Believing," Fellman says that the band loves feeding off the crowd's excitement.
"It makes it all the better when you have hundreds of people singing along," he said.
If you go
WHAT: Soulful Giving Blanket Concert
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5
WHERE: Yoshidas' estate, 29330 S.E. Stark St., with free parking and shuttle service at Mt. Hood Comunity College
COST: $50 to $100