JP Porchfest
Check out the fun at this year's JP Porchfest. Photo by Sue Dorfman

Imagine your local block party. Now, add 207 bands, 97 porch venues, theater performances, comedians, a circus and over 10,000 of your closest friends. That’s just a taste of what to expect at the 2017 Jamaica Plain Porchfest on July 8.

Mindy Fried and her fellow co-producer Marie Ghitman have seen exponential growth in involvement and attendance at the fest over the past several years. However, one main difference between JP and other area Porchfests, like the one in Somerville, is that performers don’t need to have their own outdoor space or know any friends with porches. A system of volunteers and matching means everyone is provided with a place to show off their skills.

“Our mission is to build community across race, class, immigration status and other identities through this artistic process,” explains Fried.

Collaborating with organizations like Hyde Square Task Force also ensures that every voice has a chance to shine at Porchfest. Brooklyn-based musician Lizzie No will be one of those voices, as she plans to make the trek up to Boston for her first Porchfest and perform alongside friends like Sasha Fried-Snoad from the D.C. band Lotion Princess.

 

“One tough part of being a musician is feeling separated from your audience,” says Lizzie. As a “folk musician who also plays the harp and guitar,” Porchfest represents a way for Lizzie to reconnect to her genre’s roots of creating music in intimate places with others.

Music won’t be the only spectacle at Porchfest, as several new happenings will be featured this year.

“We’re really excited about things like our resource mobilization fair, where activist organizations will be sharing literature on how people can becoming involved in various social justice movements,” says Fried.

A trolley will be available for those not travelling via foot or bike, and Bikes Not Bombs will host an activist history cycling tour. Additionally, Commonwealth Circus Center will put on some acrobatic samplings while the Politicians Performance Porch has “some of your favorite local politicians performing (music, dance, poetry) - no speeches allowed!”

“We have it all,” says Fried. “JP Porchfest is a wild, exuberant, loving experience.”

If you go:

July 8, noon to 6 p.m., various locations, Jamaica Plain, free, jpporchfest.org

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