Even if the street is empty and dark, when I hear my neighbors practicing their instruments, the sounds of music springing from their windows, the world feels safe and welcoming. The echoes of a rock band thumping through a basement wall, the scratchy violin of a child, the Spanish guitar falling faintly from an upper floor balcony, each arrives to my ear like a postcard from the people living behind those walls.
A number of communities, like my home in Somerville, Masssachusetts, host Porchfest to bring these musicians out into the open. It’s not a festival but rather a de-centralized community event, as folks who make music in our community, from bollywood funk to cosmic americana, killer blues, Moroccan, Balkan, gospel, American space rock and clawhammer banjo, serenade passersby from their own porches or those of a friend.
Over 100 porch concerts register with the Somerville Arts Council who create an interactive map of the anticipated acts and publicize the happening. We’re looking forward to this year’s event on Saturday, May 18, 2013.
Porchfest is a rolling party as folks stroll through one or more parts of town to sample all there was to offer. For our small, walkable community, the city is divided into quadrants with the western side hosting performers at noon, the central section scheduled to kick off early afternoon and East Somerville music rising up at 4 pm. Some homes are just too engaging to leave and some driveways and yards become impromptu block parties, with the gatherings lingering into the evening.
Image source: Eyeliam