This Saturday, porches become stages across Jamaica Plain as Porchfest returns to the neighborhood for the third straight year.
A big hit in Somerville and other cities across the country, Porchfest is all about local music, theatre and dance on D.I.Y venues. Anyone can play or perform, and anyone can host artists on their front stoop. Jamaica Plains' iteration has grown in popularity each year. Last year, 133 artists performed on 70 porches, while this year 200 are slated to perform on 83.
Mindy Fried and Marie Ghitman organize JP's Porchfest. To them, the event is about more than just putting on a show (or 83 tiny ones). They've partnered with community organizations and matched artists with porches to ensure that those without access to a venue still get the chance to perform.
"We have a very concrete mission around pulling people together across race and class and cultural divides, using the arts," Fried says. Our main concern is that we know that there is talent throughout the neighborhood, throughout many neighborhoods, and that often people of color and poor people don't have opportunities to perform that people who have middle class backgrounds do, so part of our goal was to give all people opportunity."
Along with the neighborhood-sourced porch venues, JP's Porchfest also features a number of "special porches" with themes like dance, theatre, spoken word, storytelling, and comedy. A new addition this year is an all day event called “Protestival," organized by Wee the People, an art series that teaches kids the importance of social justice and the power of protest.
Allyssa Jones, a professional musician who performed at JP's first Porchfest in 2014, is returning this year as a producing partner for the event.
"It's so hard to find places to play in town... there's not enough places to support all of us," she says. "[At Porchfest] no one's being a gatekeeper, no one's being a tastemaker, no one's pushing anything towards a scene… everything is possible, and to be in that space with neighbors and destination seekers alike is really exciting."
If you go:
Jamaica Plain Porchfest
Saturday, 11:30 am: kick-off at CityPOP (3195 Washington Street)
Performances across the neighborhood, noon to 6 p.m.