Somerville Arts Council Brings Back ‘PorchFest,’ ‘Dancing in the Streets’

Looking for some high-energy, low-cost entertainment? Get ready for one big party in Somerville on Saturday.


A few performances from Porchfest 2013. / Screengrabs via YouTube

More than 150 bands just hanging out on their porches, playing for no reason other than to entertain you and themselves as part of a casual neighborhood celebration of music? What could possibly be more Somerville? The answer: nothing.

Since 2011, the Somerville Arts Council has hosted “PorchFest,” a popular “decentralized community event” where bands of all genres play on porches around the neighborhood, and listeners wander at their leisure to experience the variety of tunes the town has to offer.

Here’s a sampling of last year’s performances now on YouTube: a wild bash with Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, mellow sounds from The Odells, Latin tunes from Big Blue World, and—any Zooey Deschanel fans out there?—the Somerville Ukelele Club performing “Hot Dogs!” So far, all these but The Odells are slated to return for PorchFest 2014.

Don’t let the casual vibe of PorchFest fool you: there’s a method to the musical madness. The event, which takes place Saturday, is organized into three areas and time zones:

12-2 p.m.: East of Central Street
2-4 p.m.: Central Street to Willow Avenue
4-6 p.m.: West of Willow Avenue

In other words, to have the most efficient listening experience, start in the southeast corner of Somerville and meander your way northwest. Of course, you can zig and zag to your heart’s content, but conserve your energy. After the curtain closes on PorchFest, shift gears and get ready for another Somerville Arts Council series, “Dancing in the Streets.”

The second annual monthlong celebration of dance—where public performances are staged throughout Somerville—kicks off Saturday at 8:30 p.m., when Rainbow Tribe will perform at Chuckie Harris Park. Then look forward to more free performances in the area through the end of June.


PorchFest takes place Saturday, May 17, 12 to 6 p.m. (rain day Sunday). For an updated map and full listing of bands, check out Dancing in the Streets performances take place May 17 through June 17. Click here for schedule.