Music for the middle-aged

Etta James, etc.

16th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival

Waterfront Park

July 3-6

Thursday at 5 p.m.

Friday-Sunday at noon

Daily admission: $5 and two cans of food

For those of you out there over the age of 40, the 16th Annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival will be hitting town July 3-6. That’s right, man, it’s time to put on your brand-new floral shirt and khaki shorts and head on down to the Waterfront Park to enjoy a heaping helping of hospitality brought to you by sponsors like the aforementioned Safeway, along with Miller Genuine Draft, The Oregonian A&E, KINK-FM 102 and many more.

The scene will most likely unfold as do most events targeted toward middle-aged folks looking for a good time. There will be more than a few men and women who haven’t been in any kind of social setting without their kids since the office Christmas party and are under the impression that this event gives them license to act like complete jackasses after consuming a few beers and/or wine coolers.

They will no doubt spend the majority of the festival in the beer garden, where they will run into their neighbors and proceed to talk about the new Nature’s being built in their neighborhood and the newest version of their SUV while all of the actual music is taking place in the background. This is absolutely no problem, though, since the only musician they are interested in seeing is Steve Miller, and he will only be playing as a special guest on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The music will however lure in a few actual fans of the art form. And for those people, there will be plenty to see, including the legendary Etta James and slide guitarist Roy Rogers.

This year, the theme of the festival is the celebration of the “Year of the Blues and Women in Blues.” The festival will get started on Thursday, July 3, with Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues Band as well as young blues rockers North Mississippi Allstars, Jody Williams, Paris Slim Band and Walter Trout & the Radicals.

In addition to the stage in Waterfront Park, the revelers will also be able to take a floating musical adventure on the Portland Spirit with the “Hoodoo Moon Blues Cruise” (see sidebar).

If you are a fan of the blues or just simply want to have an inexpensive, fun time for the Fourth of July, then head down to the festival. You never know, you might run into someone you know.