Homebodies and explorers can finally make peace. PorchFest is back and Somerville is prepping itself for the most lackadaisical rendition yet to celebrate.
This Saturday, musicians and bands will celebrate Somerville’s special culture by bringing back the old-school venue: the porch. Now in its sixth year, the festival invites local and touring musicians to break out their best busking, just for music’s sake. Tipping is allowed, but most gather friends around just to jam. Residents get to see their side of town turned into a musical maven. Those who live elsewhere get to wander the streets with overwhelmed joy, passing through the decentralized music festival one avenue at a time.
Don’t expect acoustic bro battles. This is a melting pot at its steamiest. Western banjo, Bollywood funk, cosmic Americana, soulful blues, Moroccan, Balkan, gospel, space rock, and everything in between will be hitting your ears. You dream up a genre, it’s there, and one of the 230 bands set to play will have it ready at will.
Organized readers may prefer to make a list of who’s who, tackling the big-name acts first before seeing some of the low-key performers. We’re not going to indulge you. Before you grab your freshly sharpened pitchfork, hear us out. PorchFest is meant to equalize the playing field. It takes the experience of overhearing a neighbor playing a beautiful melody on acoustic guitar and then amplifies it by several hundreds. So wander at free will. If you must, head to the designated areas for set times: east of Central Street will be noon-2 pm; Central Street to Willow Street will be 2-4 pm; west of Willow Street 4-6 pm. The community event is exactly that: a festival created so neighbors get to know each other beyond the names glued to mailboxes.
Our real advice is to come prepared. Those looking to perform had to submit online forms several weeks ago, but you are welcome to carry an instrument on your back, occasionally joining others and certain porches should the owners invite strangers to join in.
For those who aren’t musically inclined, pack some quality snacks and sneak a few tipsy drinks in, too. The sun will be deciding whether it’s spring or summer, so you may get exhausted quicker than expected, and music can only do so much to lift your spirits. Whether you’re passing beers or blunts, it’s a day-long event for anyone looking to bask in early summer vibes.
PORCHFEST ’16. SAT 5.17. SOMERVILLE. 12PM/ALL AGES/FREE. SOMVERVILLEARTSCOUNCIL.ORG.