Yellow Springs Porchfest features over 70 acts Saturday

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Community focus means growth for festival.

There are differing opinions among villagers on whether the recent pandemic-spurred absences of the twice-yearly Yellow Springs Street Fair is good or bad. From the enthusiastic response to last year’s Yellow Springs Porchfest, there’s no such division among residents over the festival’s return to participating homes and businesses on Saturday, Sept. 17.

“Aside from a couple of people complaining about people parking in their front yard, it has been nothing but praise and thanks from the Yellow Springs community,” said Paul Herzog, a member of the Porchfest organizing committee. “We want to make sure everyone is happy with what we’re doing. We’re an event for the musicians first but also for the community and the businesses. We don’t want to be a nuisance. This was never intended to grow any further than what it has, and I think we’ve done a great job of managing it. There are strong feelings about Street Fair from our general population in Yellow Springs.”

Controlled expansion

Music begins at noon Saturday with performances from more than 70 acts in an eclectic array of styles such as folk, rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop and Celtic. This year’s lineup, which is about 20 more artists than last year, includes Mojo Power, Fugitive Strings, Africanacosa, Novena, Cincinnati Brass, the Condrinkers, Rico Blue and the Jackie Treehorn Five.

“This year we’ve increased the number of bands and porches but, miraculously, we did not increase the footprint,” Herzog said. “We’re at over 70 bands and over 35 porches, which is kind of wild in our little village. We were able to do that and keep it at half-a-mile from downtown.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Maps and logistics

Herzog credits the logistics to what he calls the map committee.

“I don’t know how they do what they do, to be quite honest with you,” he said. “They have to take all of this data and manually input it into all these places around town. They have to make sure nobody is playing around the corner from somebody else at the same time. There are all these intricacies they have to consider. They have to accommodate so much and somehow, someway, they actually make it work. It’s a puzzle but there’s no boxtop for you to look at. They’re just putting it together and seeing what fits where. So, a huge shout out to the people who make that map, especially, this year, because they had their work cut out for them.”

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Back from the gap

After taking a gap year in 2020, Porchfest returned to overwhelming support for its third year in September 2021.

“Last year’s Porchfest was so great,” Herzog said. “It was absolutely what everybody needed. We were coming out of having to cancel in 2020 and things were still uncertain last year. We went right up until the last minute, sometime in the middle of August last year, before we decided to go ahead. To be unsure up until that minute was stressful. All of us on the committee, as we spoke about last year, just wanted to keep it safe. We wanted to make sure everybody was happy and we weren’t overstepping our bounds. Halfway through the day, any worries were quickly dispelled. We couldn’t have been happier with the results.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Fostering community

Porchfest really sells itself. It’s a family-friendly, daytime event with an incredible amount of musical variety. You can bring your grandma, your young kids and your eccentric, music-obsessed cousin and they’ll all find something to enjoy. Most likely, they’ll also find something that will completely turn their head.

“This event gets an amazing reaction from locals of all ages,” Herzog said. “Our tagline is ‘Foster our spirit of community, celebrate local musicians and connect with our unique artists and neighbors.’ Whenever we try to make a decision, we make sure it represents our mission statement. We want to make sure everybody is comfortable and having a good time. Quite honestly, I think we’re nailing it.”

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Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: Yellow Springs Porchfest featuring Mojo Power, Fugitive Strings, Africanacosa, Novena, Cincinnati Brass, the Condrinkers, Rico Blue and others

Where: The porches of participating homes and businesses in Yellow Springs

When: Noon; Saturday, Sept. 17

Cost: Free

More info: ysporchfest.com

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