On June 4, homeowners in West Philadelphia opened their porch to the community for a free music festival where musicians performed throughout the neighborhood.
Sunny weather on the Saturday afternoon greeted attendees as they filled the streets of West Philadelphia singing and dancing along to songs. Genres heard throughout the daylong Porchfest festival ranged from pop, rock, jazz, country, and R&B.
One of the performers, a band named Sacred Monsters, were very excited to perform at the porchest.
“We attended our first Porchfest last year and just from that one day we made so many acquaintances and people we are still cool with til this day,” Nick Cervini, the drummer for Scared Monsters, said. “We met lots of bands and other artists, an event like this helps keep the community tight.”
Sacred Monsters consist of four band members who initially met through Craigslist and formed their band in 2021. Later that year on June 4, the group released their first EP, Bones. This year’s fest marked the one year anniversary of that release and the band celebrated the milestone by performing songs from the EP at Porchfest.
The festival wasn’t just exclusive to local performers in Philadelphia as many performers traveled from out of state to various porches in the neighborhood. Kristin Rebecca, who drove in Philadelphia from Maryland after being invited to perform, was one such artist.
“I really like the feel of being at a porchfest, “ Rebecca said. “You get to be around other artists and it’s a very community feel which is something that makes it very special. It really brings people together. It gives a very personal connection that sometimes you don’t get in other places.”
Rebecca found her love for music at the age of 12 and quickly started getting paid for gigs when she turned 15. She performed at various coffee shops and listening rooms until the pandemic hit, in which she used that time to write her EP titled Realm of Enchantment. Kristin is mainly a solo artist but is also in a band with her parents called Painted Trillium.
“My parents are scientists and they both played music when they were younger,” she said. “But I actually wanted to play so they got back into music because I wanted to play and we’ve been playing together since I was 16.”
The festival was filled with smiles and celebration from the attendees as friends and families danced together in streets closed to traffic. Many attendees came in groups and paraded the streets from one porch to another. As soon as one performer was done with their performance, there was also another porch open to welcome more people. It was a day filled with music and laughs.
Attendees also had the opportunity to download a map to help guide them to various different acts, but many people simply just wandered until they stumbled upon a porch they liked
For some homeowners, like Kate Sclavi, it was the first time hosting a porchfest “stage.”
“This is my first time owning a house in the neighborhood and it’s my first time having a porch,” Sclavi said. “The areas I lived in Philadelphia were not in an area of Porchfest and they didn’t have porches. So this is my first time owning a porch and being able to do this.”
Sclavi is a professor at Temple University teaching in the art education department. She’s lived in Philadelphia since 2009 and as her first time being a homeowner, she welcomed various different acts to perform at her porch. Alongside the Porchfest, Sclavi also threw a fairy themed after-party exclusive to her friends and family where more artists performed in her backyard.
“I think the Porchfest brings a lot of people together and you get to connect with your neighbors,” she said. “Music is always a great connector and it’s really good for the neighborhood.”
One performance which was a crowd favorite was from De Tierra Caliente. Their performance had the crowd singing and dancing along, even if they didn’t know the lyrics, with everyone from kids to older adults enjoying their performance.
Even after De Tierra Caliente finished their performance, the crowd chanted and begged for one more song. The entire event lasted till about 7 p.m. and after a long day of walking and dancing, people slowly started heading back home, looking forward to next year’s Porchfest.
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