Larchmere PorchFest returns on June 18
Summertime is festival season, and the Heights is no stranger to presenting free live music festivals that draw people to our communities. Now in its eighth year, Larchmere PorchFest kicks off on Saturday, June 18, 1–10 p.m., including its afterparties. This free, family-friendly event boasts 30 bands on 30 porches throughout Cleveland's Larchmere neighborhood.
PorchFest, the Heights Music Hop and Brite Winter Festival have developed into a trifecta of popular local music festivals. Last year, organizers of each partnered, enhancing Cleveland’s cultural scene, while simultaneously benefiting the individual communities.
"Sharing our resources is a great way for all of the festivals in Cleveland to grow and thrive," said Jesse Honsky, president of the board for PorchFest.
This year's PorchFest headliners include one of the most recognized Latin bandleaders in Northern Ohio, Sammy de León y su Orquesta. De León, who plays the timbales, has played with the most internationally recognized artists of the Latin jazz genre, including Tito Puente.
The other headliner is Heights-based newgrass band Honeybucket, winner of Scene magazine's Best Band 2016.
Heights resident and local music advocate Michael Kinsella, bassist for the band Oldboy, is a PorchFest board member and is co-chair of its music selection committee, along with Josh Gerken. Kinsella, who has been involved on the planning committees of all three music festivals, said this of PorchFest: "We are now in a position to be more selective about the bands, being more proactive about which bands to feature."
"There's no reason for these festivals to compete, since each takes place in a different season and each has a slightly different vibe," said Kinsella. PorchFest features folk and world music; Brite Winter books more "indie" bands; and the Heights Music Hop has an eclectic mix of rock, singer-songwriters, classical, bluegrass and more. "We share bands and resources," said Kinsella, "giving people what they want—to hear live original music—while building a sense of local pride."
This year’s PorchFest sponsors include Heights-based nonprofits and small businesses: FutureHeights, presenter of the Heights Music Hop; the Grog Shop; The Wine Spot; the Home Repair Resource Center; and WJCU, John Carroll University’s radio station. Each sponsors a porch where musicians perform. People can "camp out" on neighborhood front lawns for 30–40 minutes at a time; music lovers are encouraged to bring chairs or a blanket to sit on.
Elégie, a Heights-based quartet, will perform R&B, jazz, rock, folk and electronic selections. Its members are all Heights High graduates.
Because of its continued growth and success, the 4th annual Heights Music Hop will include two festival events on the same weekend. On Friday, Sept. 23, Nighttown and other venues in the Cedar Fairmount Business District will host musical acts; and on Saturday, Sept. 24, Cedar Lee will host the traditional streetwide festival throughout its business district.
The third festival, Brite Winter, returned to its roots on the West Bank of the Flats this past February.
The full PorchFest band lineup will be announced soon at www.larchmereporchfest.org.
Andrea C. Turner
Andrea C. Turner is the Heights Observer's managing editor.