2021 Blues Fest, other events at new outdoor venue
The Waterfront Blues Festival will make a comeback at a new location in 2021 — The Lot at Zidell Yards, which will hold other outdoor entertainments events along the Willamette River this year.
The annual Blues Festival was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now scheduled over the Fourth of July weekend, July 2-5, with changes to increase safety. They include social distancing at the new location between the Ross Island Bridge and the Tilikum Crossing in the South Waterfront neighborhood.
"I think it will be a joyous and triumphant return of the Waterfront Blues Festival this summer and live music in general in Portland," said Christina Fuller, co-owner and partner of Fuller Events, which will produce this year's festival.
According to KOIN 6 News, the festival was moved out of Tom McCall Waterfront Park because the city of Portland would not issue a permit for it. The Lot at Zidell Yards is private property.
According to Fuller, this year only be hundreds of fans with be allowed at this year's festival instead of the thousands in the past. Socially distanced seating will be arranged in pods in lieu of individual passes or general admission. The seating pods will be sanitized between performances.
"But you and your 'quaran-team' of two people, four people, or six people will buy a pod together and that's where you'll enjoy the show from," Fuller explained.
With limited capacity, this year's festival will feature four or five live acts doing two shows each day. Fuller said the talent will still be a mix of local and national blues artists. Food and beverages will also be available.
Located at 3030 S. Moody Ave., The Lot at Zidell Yards will feature a full stage, a large format LED screen, a site-specific sound system, and an on-site food and beverage program — all for guests to enjoy with their quaran-team from the comfort of their socially-distanced seating pod. Events will be held there from May to September.
"We believe that our city's musicians, artists, cultural institutions and creatives not only make up the rich and colorful fabric of Portland, but are also essential components to the economic health of our city," said Fuller. "The Lot will provide opportunities to put our artists and our event production and hospitality professionals back to work and give our audience the opportunity to celebrate and reconnect."
The Lot will feature daily programming throughout the summer, including live music, movies, charity fundraisers, wellness classes and more. The following are already scheduled:
The Hollywood Theatre: Hollywood Theatre and The Lot at Zidell Yards present a series of film and music. May-June, 2021.
Pride NW: Celebrate Portland Pride at The Lot, with Pride Northwest and QDoc Film Festival, featuring live entertainment. June 2021.
Summer Music Festival: Presented by The Lot, highlighting local and regional musicians and celebrating the diverse music community of Portland. August 2021.
"In alignment with The Lot team's vision, we believe in the restorative power of live performances and gathering together in the safest way possible," said Charlene Zidell, ZRZ Realty Company, "As longtime supporters of the Portland arts community, we're proud to host The Lot on ZRZ Realty property."
More events will continue to be announced via The Lot's newsletter and social media channels, with event details and ticketing information available on the website. Rental and booking opportunities are also available for events throughout the season.
"The Lot at Zidell Yards is rooted in the collaborative spirit of Portland," said Tyler Fuller, founder and partner of Fuller Events, "We're committed to working with key stakeholders to rebuild events in Portland, kickstart cultural activities and reinvigorate our city's spirit."
More information about The Lot at Zidell Yards can be found at thelotatzidellyards.com.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.
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