Greg Johnson, CBA President
One of the greatest things about living in the Northwest during the summer is the opportunity to get outside. Sure, people from other places think that all it does around here is rain every day. But we know that our summers are precious and the weather, usually starting right around the time of the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, is sunny and warm. Warm? Well as long as it doesn’t get blistering hot like it did last year. Then again, it does seem to come earlier every year. We even hit 90-100 degree weather in May this year!
But the very best thing about warmer, sunnier weather is that there are a lot of music happenings going on outdoors. Festivals, concerts in the parks, amphitheaters, fairs, farmer’s markets, wineries, shows at the Zoo, house parties and many local restaurants opening their patios to music, too. And quite a bit of those happenings are blues shows. Oh, did I mention the Cascade Blues Association membership picnic? Yay!
I have said it before and will repeat it over and over, we are blessed by the abundance of world-class musicians we have living in the Northwest. And we get to take in a great number of them. We can head out on any given weeknight in July and August and catch such artists as Curtis Salgado, Ken DeRouchie, Karen Lovely, LaRhonda Steele, Hank Shreve, Andy Stokes, and many more all for free! Check out the Concerts in the Park link on the City of Portland’s website for a full list.
Festivals are always in abundance during the summer. Be they large caliber like the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, Mt Baker Blues Festival, the Bronze Blues & Brews, or Winthrop Music Festival, to the smaller affairs taking place for a day or afternoon, they’re scattered all over the Northwest and into Northern California from now into September. Even though some may be a bit of a drive away and may require spending a night or two out of town, you know it’s worth the time and effort. Especially when you consider the backdrop of many of the locations, be it in the mountains, alongside a rolling river, next to the Pacific Ocean, or even with a city skyline behind.
A lot of great musicians on the road are heading our way, too. Not all are outdoors, but many will be. Check out people like Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy with Jeff Beck, Marcia Ball, Sugaray Rayford, the Golden State Lone Star Revue with Mark Hummel, Anson Funderburgh & Little Charlie Baty for just a few.
Take a drive to the coast or into the mountains, visit venues or parks you wouldn’t normally go to, check out various chamber of commerce websites, you just may be surprised at who might be playing out and about. But even if you don’t have the chance to sit on a patio or on a lawnscape to enjoy the sun, get out to your favorite venues and catch some blues wherever you’re able. Even if it is a dark nightclub and it rains a little on your festival, a day of listening to live blues is still the best thing going. So take advantage of the opportunity and get your blues on. You can count me in!