ITHACA, N.Y.—The porches of Fall Creek and beyond will once again host a variety of musical acts this weekend as another year of Porchfest arrives.
On Sunday, Sept. 24 from 12-6 p.m., around 150 local bands will be scattered throughout the Fall Creek neighborhood and Ithaca in a free, open-to-all-ages celebration of community and music. Everything from folk music to jazz to R&B to country to rock and more will be showcased, as it has since the first Ithaca Porchfest event in 2007.
More information, including schedules, maps and performer lists, is available at Porchfest’s website.
Andy Adelewitz, co-organizer of Porchfest alongside Lesley Greene, said that Porchfest is not like other music festivals. No formal application is required for anybody who wants to play, providing a very accessible opportunity for the community to share their love of music.
“When every porch, yard, driveway and park in the neighborhood is a stage, you have room to just let anyone and everyone in,” Adelewitz said. “So we have seasoned, professional bands and we have performers where this is the only public gig they do all year.”
Heather Sandford has been the bass player for Motherwort and The 86ers for five years and will be performing at Porchfest this year with both bands.
“I think it’s so special to connect people in their households and allow them the opportunity to be with their neighbors,” Sandford said. “I love that there’s no cost to it and it’s walker-friendly too.”
In addition to playing music, Sandford will also be hosting musicians on her porch at the house she moved in to just two months ago.
“I’ve always wanted to host a Porchfest so it’s really special,” Sandford said. “It’s almost like my housewarming party.”
While many people walk around the community just to hear live music, Adelewitz said that Porchfest is also introducing a Maker’s Market this year. The event will be held in Auburn Park (on Auburn Street in Fall Creek) with more than 20 artisans set up, selling paintings, jewelry, baked goods and other related items.
“It’s an idea that a few people have mentioned over the years and we loved it as an extension of what Porchfest is all about, which is showcasing the creative community of our neighborhood and city,” Adelewitz said. “What made it happen this year was bringing on two really creative and organized people, Yen Ospina and Nicole Basta, who took on the task from top to bottom.”
Adelewitz said that while the number of performers has leveled off a bit in the past six years, the team involved works hard to navigate the unique challenges that make Porchfest what it is.
“We really push the envelope in terms of how much music you can fit into one afternoon in an area that’s around a quarter of a square mile,” Adelewitz said. “Arranging it all so that you don’t have two performers right next to each other, drowning each other out, is probably the most complex part of putting Porchfest together.”
The best way to experience the day, Sandford said, is not to follow the schedule too strictly.
“If you can be really open to letting the day flow, have fun with the experience of walking around and being surprised,” Sandford said.