Yay! Summertime! For me summer means the outdoor concerts and plays that spring up throughout the city.
Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival is one I ALWAYS attend July 4th weekend. The Blues feels like visiting the most awesome small town ever. It feels homey and familiar while being totally boogie-licious. Amidst sparkly red, white, and blue finery and grey beards with ponytails and tropical shirts, I gingerly stretched out on the grass with thousands of other listeners burning (literally!) to guitar and piano.
If you’re not that familiar with Blues, it actually includes a wide spectrum of sound. Check out Rockabilly Blues on StrayCatLeeRocker’s YouTube page or Billie Holliday’s Blues are Brewin and you’ll see two far flung examples. One mainstay artist of the genre is a personal favorite, Taj Mahal.
Mahal was a headliner at the festival this year but I first heard his name when he guested on an episode of Arthur back in the day. However, Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, started out in the 60’s. As a supporter of the civil rights movement, he felt a kinship with Mahatma Gandhi efforts in Indian independence so chose the stage name Taj Mahal. His wide worldview shows not only in his politics but in his exploration of Hawaiian, African, and Indian music.
But the Festival is not only about the music, it’s about the food! I got a fried oyster po’ boy with jalapeño tarter sauce and, speaking as a paleo eater, I gotta tell you, it was delicious!!
The Blues Festival was like the shot propelling me out of the gate of summer doings.
What are your must do’s during the summer?