If you are reading this from the Hudson Valley, New York, you can enjoy the sounds of summer music in the outdoors at the Second Annual Poughkeepsie PorchFest as it returns to the Southside Historic District. On Sunday, August 22, the gracious Victorian-era homes, porches on Academy, Garfield, Barclay and Montgomery streets will become pop-up stages hosting over 30 music groups and musicians playing live music; from jazz and classical to country, rock and spoken word. Organized by local Poughkeepsie residents Julie Gutierrez, David Henningsen and Mary Reynolds, the Sunday afternoon event is free to the community, a gift from our local musicians to the community.
Launching a new music festival during COVID takes planning and co-organizer Mary Reynolds reflected on how their team got the pilot event off the ground. “Last year, we weren’t certain whether people would be willing to lend their porches and if musicians would come out to play here, but we were so gratified by the enthusiasm of hosts and musicians alike. And we got great support from the city, which made a huge difference.”
Last year’s PorchFest was a pilot event that the community enthusiastically endorsed and over half of the musicians return to perform this year. Hudson Valley’s Frenchy and the Punk bring their own punk vitality with acoustic tones. The two-person band includes singer Samantha Stephenson and post-punk guitar visionary Scott Helland and have become in-demand performers on the post-cabaret and steampunk scenes.
Guitarist Bill Flash returns for PorchFest this year and shared memories from 2020: “When I wasn’t playing I got to walk around and check out the other acts! I walked up and down the blocks listening to so many varied and talented performers.” Poughkeepsie resident, Karl Schmitz, returns with his original songs accompanied with acoustic guitar, Peter Kiewra performs solo on piano, and for those who enjoy the distinctive beat of the drum, don’t miss the PoTown Beats. David Henningsen commented: “As one of the organizers and a musician myself, it’s been a delight to hear such diversity of music from classical to singer-songwriters.”
New this year at PorchFest are over a dozen musicians and groups, including the Roadhouse Roosters, a trio playing up-tempo boogie and blues repertoire that’s heavy on slide guitar, electric, and acoustic. Also new this year, the Light Warriors will perform with a sound that blends rock, funk and reggae with global indie sensibilities. Their music and performances have been reviewed as “transcendent, uplifting and positive.”
Brendon Mee, host and musician for PorchFest commented: “It was positively moving to put music on from the porches in the summer of 2020, during a lull in the pandemic. People told me it was the only live music they saw all year. And 2021 promises to be even better. The whole event gives Poughkeepsie bragging rights.”
Poughkeepsie PorchFest 2021: Sunday, August 22, 1:00-6:00 p.m. in the Southside Historic District: Porches on Academy, Garfield, Barclay, and Montgomery Street will feature free performances.