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Riverside school to pack weekend supplies for kids with help from nonprofit show

Support local efforts to feed Oak Grove children in need by listening to Northwest bands that you would typically see on big outdoor festival stages across the country.

Winter Music Festival, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in its ninth year, started with a conversation over a glass of wine between friends brainstorming ways for music festivals to benefit charities in the off-season.

Backpack Buddies, this year's Winter Music Festival beneficiary, partners with schools to send children in need home with discreet bags of food on the weekends.

Festival President LeeAnn Gibbons said the organization has committed to funding Backpack Buddies programs in North Clackamas' Riverside Elementary and David Douglas' Fir Ridge Campus, but will help more schools if more funds are donated.

Gibbons noted that Winter Music Festival has helped many charities focused on kids and hunger throughout the years including the Children's Healing Arts Project, Youth Music Project, United By Music North America and the Oregon Food Bank. She was inspired to help Backpack Buddies after hearing the statistics counting more than 2% of students across Clackamas County as homeless.

"Since there are so many homeless out in our community, and especially how many kids are (impacted) by this, I wanted to help and get the community involved more," she said.

This year's Winter Music Festival will be held Saturday, March 7, at the Elks Lodge in Oak Grove with music on two stages. The venue also offers a large dance floor, a full service bar and food menu. Parking is across the street from the MAX Orange line. Doors open at 2 p.m. and music starts at 3 p.m. with raffle and silent auction items.

The festival's headliner, rock and soul band Generator, is an audience favorite across the Northwest and is well-known for keeping the dance floor full. 

Longtime festival favorite, the Rae Gordon Band has played around the world and has appeared on the Living Blues and Roots Music Report charts. Gordon was inducted into the Cascade Blues Association's Hall Of Fame for her string of Best Female Vocalist wins, and the band was named Best Contemporary Blues Act. Her band was a finalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee Norman Sylvester also is returning to the Winter Music Festival. The multi-award winning "Boogie Cat" is known for being the ultimate showman and giving back to the community. He was a recipient of a Back What You Believe award for his health care fundraising. 

COURTESY PHOTO - The Rae Gordon Band features a powerhouse blues and soul singer, searing slide guitar, a tight pulsing rhythm section and soaring horns. The Strange Tones are in the Muddy Award Hall of Fame for winning Best Contemporary Band four years running. Gibbons brought them to the festival this year for their danceable songs and "infectious" stage chemistry

Seattle-based songstress Lady A's festival performance will be rooted in blues and gospel. She has performed all around the world with the likes of Dexter Allen and Bobby Rush and is known for giving back by producing shows and mentoring.

Chris Hamann is inspired by passionate performers around the area, including fellow guitarist Norman Sylvester. His band highlights guitarist JT Thomas, who plays in award-winning projects, and Johnny Wheels, who will be joining them at the Winter Music Festival after touring in Memphis, Tennessee.

COURTESY PHOTO - Generator is a high-energy act that highlights five-part harmonies with tight arrangements.

Music fest

What: Listen to award-winning acts and make a difference for charity

When: 3-9 p.m. Saturday, March 7

Where: Elks Lodge, 13121 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd., Oak Grove

Tickets: $30 at winterbluesfest.net.  

Donate: Boxes at the festival will accept public donations of soups, granola bars, juice pouches, peanut butter, etc., for Backpack Buddies


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