John Lee Hooker

Visualize John Lee Hooker getting into a rush-order white limousine at PDX, and you have the start of a good story. You also have the nugget of a great blues festival – in this case, the Rose City Blues Festival, as it was called then.

Delmark Goldfarb

Delmark Goldfarb, organizer of what was then called the Rose City Blues Festival.

Organizer Delmark Goldfarb, wracking his brain for a headliner in 1987, had the good sense to contact Portland bassist John Mazzocco for help. And the rest is, well, you know: 26 years of amazing blues at the Portland Waterfront.

Last year, for the Festival’s silver anniversary, Ross Hamilton explained how John Lee Hooker and the limo got involved.

Waterfront Blues Festival Photo Essay

Oregonian photographer Ross Hamilton has put together a photo essay of the iconic performers and performances that have shaped the Blues Festival.


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