PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Live music is taking over the Colwood Golf Center on Friday and Saturday for the sixth annual Vanport Jazz Festival — honoring the former city and the musicians who brought jazz to the Portland area.
The two-day fest features artists like Mike Phillips, Joe, Boney James and Average White Band. The fest will also include over 20 food and merchandise vendors along with exhibits showcasing the city of Vanport in its heyday before a flood in 1948 displaced the community.
“The history of the festival is really to pay homage to the city of Vanport. Growing up here in Oregon during my college years, jazz at that time was pretty vibrant. And then all of a sudden, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival died, jazz seemed to have died as well. And so, I wanted to start a jazz festival and what better place to start it than Oregon?” Vanport Jazz Festival Founder and Executive Producer James Taylor said.
He added, “out of the city of Vanport came a lot of jazz musicians, a lot of jazz clubs, a lot of jazz artists came to Portland during the 40s and 50s, but the Vanport Jazz Festival is really to pay homage and to basically rebirth the jazz scene in Oregon.”
Taylor explained that the festival is something community members are “hungry” for.
“The jazz scene in Oregon really kind of died down and so fans from all over the northwest are excited to come to the festival year after year. We probably have 40% of our audience comes from the Seattle market, we’ve got another 10% that comes from places like Phoenix, Arizona, California, Nevada, all over. But people, primarily say that the festival is a reunion. It’s a reunion-like feel. They come and they see people they haven’t seen for decades,” Taylor said. “They love the culture itself. It’s a festival for everyone.”
The Vanport Jazz Festival runs August 4-5 at the Colwood Golf Center and will be emceed by KOIN 6 News Anchor Ken Boddie.