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A Peek Into Porchfest: Grants Pass Gathers on the Front Steps

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Porchfest 2018. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Lavine

 

The only Porchfest Music Festival in Oregon takes attendees on a blast into the past to a time when friends became family over a glass of sweet tea, as the afternoon air was swirling with the harmonious notes of a fiddle’s strings and the summer sun had just risen up to her highest point. Reminiscent of a tradition long since past when neighbors gathered together to share their stories through music, over good food and each others’ company, Grants Pass’ annual Porchfest is a festival for the whole family—and neighborhood.

Nearly 100 musicians are coming together on June 15 in Grant Pass’ NW Washington neighborhood to celebrate the 3rd annual Porchfest. From country and folk to pop and R&B, each year Porchfests are held on the front porches in cities, large and small, across the country. The event originated in Ithaca, New York, and now is held annually in 127 cities nationwide.

This is Oregon’s only porchfest. Local performer Kevin Widdison paints an intimate picture of his perspective from a musician’s standpoint: “There’s something just deliciously organic about playing for an audience that is so up close and personal. There is virtually no barrier between the performers and the audience.”

The streets in the neighborhood will be closed to traffic allowing for festival goers to stroll or bike throughout the event. A variety of food choices from tasty barbecue to authentic Mexican dishes to breakfast crepes will be available. Groups such as Circle of Stone, Oak Street String Band and the Rogue Singers are among the many musicians that will be performing.

Specifically for this event, (some) home owners will open their doors to attendees, volunteers and musicians alike. This year also will host a special display featuring Model A vintage cars. Having attended since its inaugural year in Southern Oregon, festival-goer Valerie Lovelace describes Porchfest as “a great opportunity to get out for an old-time social event.”

This year’s music festival is being organized by the Rogue Gateway Rotary Club for the first time, using a portion of the profits to fund Family Solutions and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Josephine County. Family Solutions provides mental health care and resources to families in the valley. CASA volunteers work to assist children through the foster care system as they transition into their permanent homes.

 

Porchfest
11 am – 3 pm, Saturday, June 15
NW Washington Boulevard neighborhood surrounding Lawnridge Park, Grants Pass
porchfestgrantspass.org
Free

 

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