Porchfest spotlights talent, diversity and community Saturday in St. Anne’s Hill



While the Porchfest concept isn’t unique to Dayton, the local version’s focus on hometown talent, musical diversity and community makes it perfect for the Gem City. The Collaboratory presents the annual outdoor festival utilizing the porches, patios and lawns of more than 45 participating residents in the historic St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood on Saturday, Aug. 20.

“In presenting Porchfest, we’re excited we had 102 bands apply this year and accepted 51, including 13 first-timers,” said Dayton Porchfest founder Peter Benkendorf of The Collaboratory. “We get underway, as we have every year, with TRSS Drum Corps from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. before the first music block gets underway at 2 p.m. And, of course, regardless of your musical tastes, we have something for everyone.”

TRSS Drum Corps will be followed by a diverse array of local musical acts performing until 6:45 p.m. The lineup ranges from rappers Tino, K. Carter and Ty Spacely and acoustic acts Amber Hargett, Charlie Tipton and Kyleen Downes to full bands Nasty Bingo, Sadbox and Somersault and world music Fin Tan, Miami Valley Klezmer Ensemble and Five Rivers Drum Ensemble.

“There are so many different genres and they’re all local,” talent booker Sunni Russo said. “There is such a wealth of talent here and it’s impossible to see it all. I encourage people to take a look at the schedule ahead of time and map out their day. That’s the best way to see everything you want to see. I have a few friends that come with bicycles. People keep telling me I should have a scooter, but I like to walk.”

Artist feedback

Paul Monnin will be playing Porchfest twice on Saturday. He’ll be fronting Age Nowhere and also playing keyboards with Neo American Pioneers.

“Both bands have done Porchfest before,” Monnin said. “It’s one of my favorite events in Dayton. It’s one of my favorite days in Dayton. You walk around and every band and their brother is playing. As long as the weather is nice, it’s going to be great.”

Mike Bankhead, another returning participant, played Porchfest for the first time in 2021.

“Porchfest stands out to me because it’s casual and diverse,” he said. “Whatever kind of music you’re looking for, I’m sure you’ll find it there. The folks who select the artists for Porchfest are careful to represent all sorts of genres and cultures. This year, you’ll find salsa, folk, country, rap, soul and all sorts of different instrumentation. Also, since Porchfest happens in a neighborhood, quite literally at the homes of folks from our city, it’s a great chance to enjoy being out with our fellow Daytonians, and anyone else who decides to come to town for the event. It’s family friendly, it’s free, it’s cordial. I love it.”



Sponsor pre-party

Rachel Gannon doesn’t live in St. Anne’s Hill but opened her real estate office in the neighborhood in 2021 in time to become one of last summer’s event sponsors. This year, Home Experts Realty on Fifth Street is the lead Porchfest sponsor.

“The neighborhood is so special,” said Gannon. “There is so much character in the homes and the people. Everybody is so friendly. It’s just this little nook in the city of Dayton that you kind of have to walk through to believe and it’s beautiful. Then, you’ve got music and food at this little festival in the middle of the city and it’s amazing. It’s such a great way to highlight the neighborhood. I know there are Porchfests in other cities in the area but there’s something special about this little nook down here that you don’t find anywhere else. It’s got the vibe you’d want for a Porchfest.”

Gannon, who is opening a carryout sandwich shop with a salon upstairs at the corner of Dutoit and East Fifth Streets, is hosting the second annual pre-Porchfest Brunch Bash in the parking lot of her real estate office from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“My office is offering complimentary mimosas to get ready for the day,” she said. “We’ll also have a band playing in the parking lot for a couple of hours. Rolling Indulgence and Kung Fu BBQ are ready to feed people. We’re very excited.”



Fostering creative community

Porchfest is a free event but donations are accepted for performers and The Collaboratory, which will use proceeds to support two major initiatives, Dayton Homecoming and Community of Well-Being.

“Dayton Homecoming is an effort to get people to move back to Dayton through peer-to-peer conversations, storytelling and an annual Homecoming Weekend that will launch in September 2023,” Benkendorf said. “Our Community of Well-Being Initiative is focused on community transformation by redefining community success in terms of how individuals in the region experience well-being in order to realize their full potential.”

Benkendorf moved to Dayton in 2009, bringing with him Blue Sky Project, an international summer artist residency and youth collaborative. Since then, The Collaboratory has launched or helped start multiple initiatives covering a wide range of disciplines, including community, economic and workforce development, education, arts and culture, media and social justice.

The Collaboratory is behind numerous projects, including the Dayton Sewing Collaborative, 3rd on Third and 3rd Sundays at Front Street Outdoor Markets, the Tech-Arts Collaborative with AFRL and the Claridge DIY Skatepark.

“Part community research and development lab, part social enterprise incubator-accelerator, part action tank and part community convener, The Collaboratory is where Dayton’s dreamers and doers gather to move innovative ideas to transformational action,” Benkendorf said. “We are committed to ‘Unleashing Dayton’s Potential.’”

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


What: Pre-Porchfest Brunch Bash

Where: Home Experts Realty, 1519 E. Fifth St., Dayton

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday Aug 20

Cost: Free

More info: homeexpertsrealty.net

What: The Collaboratory presents Dayton Porchfest with Miami Valley Klezmer Ensemble, Tino, Sadbox, Age Nowhere, Five Rivers Drum Ensemble and more

Where: Historic St. Anne’s Hill, Dayton

When: 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20; Music blocks are at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Cost: Free

More info: daytonporchfest.wixsite.com/home

Best of Dayton

Our Best of Dayton contest is accepting nominations for who should be finalists, and we need your help. If you like events, we have categories including Best Annual Festival, Best Concert Venue, Best Comedy Club and more. Click here to nominate your favorites in Best of Dayton!

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