POTSDAM — The village is getting ready to crank the tunes next weekend as live performers take a rather familiar stage — the front porch.
Potsdam PorchFest, a new local music festival organized by the St. Lawrence County Arts Center, will involve a multitude of musicians performing for the public all from the comfort and convenience of front porches across the village. Maggie M. McKenna, executive director of the Arts Center, said that organizers weren’t expecting a huge response for the event’s first year, but almost 20 porches are reserved with multiple artists at most locations.
“There’s a lot of different things really. We’ve got kind of more classical music, and we’ve got some rock music, and folk, a good amount of jazz music, and we also have some artists who are just going to set up and make some art on their porch,” Ms. McKenna said laughing.
For the last few weeks, the arts center has been looking for volunteers both to perform or to “donate” their porch for the afternoon. Ms. McKenna said the locations are all over the village, but generally centered in the area of Chestnut, Clinton and Market streets. Over this weekend organizers will put together an official performance schedule and map of all the different locations and will post that to their website.
“It’s going to be a really fun way to bring the community together but in a safe way. People are going to have to stay away from the porches so that they don’t get too close to the musicians. We’re going to ask everybody to be wearing masks while they’re at a porch and following all the [public health] safety guidelines,” Ms. McKenna said.
Organizers of the PorchFest in Ithaca claim to have started the idea in 2007, though the idea has spread to dozens of cities and towns across the country since then. The COVID-19 pandemic has made arts events, especially live music, especially difficult, and Ms. McKenna says the format of PorchFest is a great opportunity to make and enjoy art.
“This will be really nice because everybody, especially because people can really be spread out and stay away from one another and practice social distancing while still experiencing art,” Ms. McKenna said. “So we love it.”
Bands begin performing at noon on Saturday. The event should wrap around 5 p.m. More information will be available at https://slcartscouncil.org/potsdam-porchfest/.