Oregon Food Bank announced Tuesday that it is stepping down as owner/operator of the Waterfront Blues Festival, a multi-day music and community event held every year over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The festival remains strong and will continue under the stewardship of the core team who originally built it in 1988.
"We couldn't be happier to hand the festival back over to the team that built it into the largest blues music fest west of the Mississippi," said Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan. "This festival is a community institution, and we are confident that it will continue to flourish under the leadership of Waterfront Blues Production and Fuller Events."
Planning for the 2018 festival is well underway. Ticket sales and an artist preview will be announced in mid-February via a new festival website. The 2018 festival will take place July 4 through July 7 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Oregon Food Bank will remain a beneficiary of the event.
Until this year, Oregon Food Bank has produced Waterfront Blues Festival in addition to receiving a portion of the net proceeds as beneficiary. The generosity of Blues fans and festival attendees has returned more than $10 million and 20 million pounds of food for Oregon Food Bank. However, after 30 years, the time has come for Oregon Food Bank to exit as producers and concentrate its financial resources and staff energies on its core mission of eliminating hunger.
"Our foremost responsibility is fighting hunger," Morgan added. "It's a big job that requires our full attention and commitment." Oregon Food Bank currently serves more than 700,000 people experiencing hunger in Oregon and Clark County, Washington through a statewide network of 21 regional food banks and 1,200 partners and programs.
Effective immediately, Waterfront Blues Production and Fuller Events have assumed all oversight and management of the festival. The team includes longtime festival artistic director Peter Dammann, who has also performed on stage at the festival numerous times, and Fuller Events, which has supported the festival for years.