What started as a small event in the City of Ithaca in 2007 has since turned into an internationally recognized way to celebrate local musicians and create a sense of community in neighborhoods across the continent. Of course, I’m talking about Porchfest.

After three long years of social isolation, Ithaca Porchfest is finally making a comeback. The first Porchfest since the start of the pandemic is scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 25, in Ithaca’s Fall Creek and Northside neighborhoods.

Porchfest began in Ithaca as a means for neighbors and local community members to highlight their musical skills on front porches. The original event in Ithaca only started with about 20 musicians, but it has expanded to more than 100 musicians—and the event has spread to other cities across the United States and Canada.

Bands, singers, and instrumentalists participate in the festival for no other reason than to showcase their talents and engage the community. The music is diverse and can range from country to pop, classical, reggae, blues, rock, jazz, Latino, R&B, folk, and more. During the event, musicians voluntarily take to the "stage" on porches (hence the name Porchfest) at their designated times and perform for the public. Signs with artists' names and performance times are usually posted in front of porches and online.

Due to the fact that this is a neighborhood event, people walk, ride bikes or scooters, or push strollers as they move from one porch to another to partake in the festivities. Children often build lemonade stands to help quench thirst on hot days while vendors oftentimes provide ice cream, hot dogs, and other snacks. Schedules and maps will be available online at http://www.porchfest.org .

Porchfest wouldn’t be possible without the support of the public. Volunteers and other organizations facilitate the event by selecting appropriate dates, acquiring musicians, and publicizing the event. Residents volunteer their own porches as a way to support the local music scene and interact with their neighbors.

According to Porchfest organizers, they are “urgently looking for volunteers.” because it takes a lot of people to make Porchfest happen safely. Most volunteers will be stationed at barricades near street closures, to redirect traffic and escort residents’ vehicles in and out as needed. Other volunteers will be stationed at information tents or circulate on bikes to help keep up with crowds in the street and excessive performer volume.

You can sign up to volunteer at https://forms.gle/2PNJTmYL5rAXpwi69.

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