On April 16th, the Fifth Annual Inner City Blues Festival “Healing the Health Care Blues” will once again present a stellar showcase of some of the best talent in Portland. Two stages of entertainment will include the Norman Sylvester Band, Terry Robb and Marilyn Keller. And host Carl Wolfson will briefly explain how the U.S. healthcare system has failed us and how to make a change. All profits for the event will go to Health Care for All-Oregon (HCAO), a statewide organization spreading the word.
A group that has been affected more than most are the musicians of our town. Clubs have closed for various reasons over the years, and pay is even lower than it was thirty years ago. Even with full time jobs the Portland music community is hurting. A tight group that loves to support each other, they hold regular fundraisers for players that are ill. But even a successful fundraiser can’t make much of a difference. Costs of medicine and procedures have skyrocketed. People that are self-employed can’t buy policies way out of their price range.
That’s why over the last five years, band leader Norman Sylvester and his wife Paula have worked hard to book entertainment for this popular event. Last year the Festival pulled in 750 people and netted $24,000. Our goal this year is $40,000.
Norman and Paula don’t have to look far to find tragic examples of a system that isn’t working. In fact they are putting together a “Go Fund Me” for friend Frankie “Funk Master” Redding. Frankie has been playing in the Portland area since he was fifteen. He would sit in the kitchen of the legendary Cotton Club on North Vancouver Ave. until he was called on stage. Later he was asked to play in their house band and backed some of the greats of the music business like Etta James and Tyrone Davis.Read More