There’s something special about sitting on a porch and making music, with the fresh air surrounding you. It’s even better when there’s a strolling audience listening to your songs. The musicians and residents of Asbury Park took that idea to heart when they started their version of Porchfest four years ago. This Saturday the free, family-friendly, socially distanced event continues with 70 musicians playing their hearts out on 14 porches around town.
Performers include local favorites Brian Erickson, Tara Dente, Emily Grove, Bobby Mahoney, Pamela Flores, Jo Wymer Band, Matt Fernicola, Josh Zuckerman, Rory D’Lasnow, Jake Thistle, Martin Howth and Dillon Schindler.
The full schedule can be found here: https://www.apporchfest.org/map-and-schedule/
Dave Vargo, one of the performers and coordinators of the event, noted this year’s event is smaller due to Covid-19 concerns but promises a safe and fun-filled time. “I suspect that since there have been very limited opportunities to hear live music over the last 6 months, we will have a very eager turn out this year. I think it is great when you can combine live music and fundraising for a good cause. Last year we had 23 porches and over 120 musicians and close to 2,000 people attended. This year it will be much smaller, 14 porches- 70 plus musicians.”
Jonathan Tea, an acoustic roots/Americana artist working on his fourth release, has performed AP Porchfest every year. “The vibe of playing on the porch is completely different than an indoor gig. I love it! It’s definitely a more festive vibe. Kind of like a cross between an outdoor acoustic music festival and a backyard picnic.”
Sahara Moon, who kicked off 2020 with two single releases, “Everything Will Be Alright” and “Beauty In A Rose,” from her debut album Worthy, loves the intimacy a porch provides, even if it’s a stranger’s.
“Because we gather at the front porch of a home, a place where people love one another and spend quality time together, each performance withholds something that is special. As a performer, seeing people come together and share the love for music on a more personal level is very inspiring as an artist and someone who is a part of the community.”
Pat Foran, an active participant in hosting songwriters in-the-round events, an online course “Pitch Perfect Songwriting” and an upcoming podcast, noted the relaxed, neighborhood picnic vibe and the supportive audience, which energizers the performers.
“You feel like people are really listening. Since it is a showcase format, artists get to perform their strongest one-set of material. The audience gets to check out multiple acts within walking distance of each other without worrying about their seat or place in the crowd or stay at the same location to hear multiple performers. It is much more relaxed than at a club.”
Asbury Park Porchfest is volunteer-driven and presented by the Asbury Park Homeowners Association, with support by Asbury Sunset Presents, Black Tank Design, City By The Sea, Deana Kreher, Realtor and Troppoli Law Firm.
Porchfest began in Ithaca, NY in 2007 with neighbors Gretchen Hildreth and Lesley Greene bringing music to their neighborhood. The concept took off and today multiple cities around the United States have their version of Porchfest. AP Homeowners Association Chairman Jordan Modell brought Porchfest to Asbury Park four years ago.