02-27-2017  1:40 am      •     
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Joe Louis Walker

The Oregon Food Bank will be kicking off its 26th Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival July 4.

Not only is it the largest Blues festival west of the Mississippi, but it's the Food Bank's largest fundraiser. 100 percent of the proceeds and pass revenue will go to the Food Bank to support its mission of eliminating hunger.

The festival runs from July 4-7. Suggested donation for the first three days is at least $10 and two cans of food. Entrance on July 7, or Sensational Sunday, will require a festival pass.

Some of the scheduled performers include the Taj Mahal Trio, the Hot 8 Brass Band, Nikki Hill and Blues Hall-of-Famer Joe Louis Walker.

"I feel that music can be transformational in so many ways for positive effects and reasons," says Walker. "I've played all kinds of places all over the world but when it's something like this, it's close to my heart because I do feel like we need to take care of one another.

"It's no mistake that the Blues and the Food Bank are connected in this because it's the same thing. If you don't have food you've got some serious Blues."



Walker also emphasizes that the Blues is universal. He says that Shakespeare was one of the first Blues guys because he spoke to people going through tribulations.

Many genres like Rock, Punk and Rap came from the Blues, he points out.

"Like Muddy Waters said, 'Blues had a baby and they called it Rock & Roll,'" says Walker.

"I've played all over the world. Blues is the one music that is synonymous with credibility.

"Once you're a blues fan, you're always a blues fan."



For more information, go to http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com/.

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