Neighbors in Sommerville, N.Y., had a novel idea a few years back: Invite a handful of musicians to spend a glorious Sunday in May performing on their front porches.
Twenty or 30 acts joined the fun, dubbed PorchFest.
This May, more than 100 bands played the third annual PorchFest, which has since spread to other communities.
On Sunday, it comes to Tucson for the inaugural PorchFest Armory Park.
"Each of the porches will have one or two musical acts playing. People can wander around the neighborhood, and the porches will be like stages," explained Janet Miller, who has lived in Armory Park for 25 years.
She organized the event with fellow resident Kimi Eisele, modeling it after other festivals around the country.
The idea is not to host a mammoth street fair. It's a quieter event, one that allows audiences to get up close and personal with the performers, whose pay will come from tip jars set up on the porches.
Sunday's event is a trial run of sorts, a chance to work out the bugs before considering expanding the PorchFest to an all-day affair with more porches, Miller said.
"Because it's going to be hot, we thought this was a really good time to test run it," she said.
Isabella's Ice Cream Truck will cruise the neighborhood selling treats, and neighborhood kids will set up old-fashioned lemonade stands.
"We're keeping it real kind of neighborhood-y," Miller said.
"I love my neighbors. I love the feeling that the architecture gives," she said. "I love looking at the houses. ... And I love being this close to downtown."
If you go
- What: PorchFest Armory Park featuring 18 Tucson musical acts performing on 11 porches throughout the Armory Park neighborhood.
- When: 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
- Where: Homes include: 350 E. 15th St., 408 E. 16th St., 632 and 843 S. Second Ave., 215 and 415 E. 17th St., and 634 and 819 S. Fifth Ave. There will also be music at Armory Park Center, 220 S. Fifth Ave.; KXCI, 220 S. Fourth Ave.; and St. Andrew's Church, 207 E. 15th St.
- Cost: Free admission. Musicians will have tip jars set up for donations.
- Parking: Limited, so organizers are asking folks to park nearby and walk. All the porches are within six blocks of each other.
- Details: facebook.com/events/119784914893204
Who you will hear
Among the artists confirmed as of last week to perform:
- Classical jazz and religious music on flute and piano with Julieta Gonzalez and Kate Elizabeth Blair.
- Troubadour-guitarist Paul Tumarkin (aka Frog).
- Cowberry Jam with guitarist-singer Lance Swaim and Marilee Cowan playing the Swedish nyckelharpa - known as a keyed fiddle.
- Instrumentalist-vocalist Barry James.
- Country combo Legend City (Doug Smith, Amy Rude, Chris and Liza Byrne).
- "Spooky forest music" with Sean Rogers & Mona Chambers: In the Woods.
- Acoustic folk duo Joshua Butcher and Robin Messing.
- Improvised electronic and guitar with Michael K. Henderson's Fermented Music.
- Latin and bilingual music with Alegrate featuring Jesus and Janice Hernandez, and Rafael and Mallory Flores.
- Acoustic soul and folk singer Sphie.
- Brazilian classical guitarist Eduardo Minozzi Costa.
- Garage rockers The Modeens.
- Grammy-nominated pianist Larry Redhouse.
- Folk singer-songwriter Lisa O'Neill.
- Acoustic swing and gypsy outfit The Hot Club of Tucson.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com or 573-4642.