West Philly Porchfest is an annual do-it-yourself community music festival. It is organized by (and for) West Philly residents and features musical acts from all genres and all walks of life playing free shows on porches throughout the neighborhood.
Porchfest takes place on the first Saturday in June. In 2018 it will take place on June 8 between noon and 6 pm.
Porchfest is big, but West Philly is bigger! The only official boundaries of the event are the Schuykill river and the city line, but most shows in 2016 and 2017 were on porches within a mile of the intersection of 48th st and Baltimore Ave, in the residential neighborhoods of Cedar Park, Spruce Hill, Squirrel Hill and Walnut Hill. Porch hosts who are outside of that range are welcome to sign up, but may not get the full benefit of the shared Porchfest audience. Getting people to attend shows in less concentrated areas might require porch hosts to do more personal promotion, or to recruit neighbors from nearby blocks and expand the map! To see all currently registered shows for this year’s event look at the interactive map on our home page.
There are lots of ways to be part of Porchfest! You can perform, host a show, volunteer, or just come out and appreciate all the amazing musical talent on display.
Yes, you can play! All you need is a porch. The musicians of West Philly Porchfest represent every genre and every level of experience. Within blocks of each other, you might find brass bands, emcees, bluegrass fiddlers, and jazz trios. Some musicians are professionals, others might have put together a new band, just for the occasion. Even if you’ve never performed publicly, Porchfest is a great way to try playing out in a fun, friendly, informal setting.
All booking for Porchfest is done by porch hosts (typically, the residents of the house attached to a porch), not the West Philly Porchfest Organizing Committee. If you’re a musician interested in playing at Porchfest we recommend talking to potential hosts (see below) in the neighborhood or posting on our Porch/Musician Connector Group on Facebook. And, of course, if you live in the neighborhood, you can always play on your own porch.
Anyone can host, if you have the rights/permission to use a porch in the neighborhood. If you need help finding artists to perform on your porch you can post on the Porch/Musician Connector Group.
The porch hosts play an absolutely essential role in Porchfest. Porchfest is, in fact, not one event, but a collection of individually produced shows, and porch hosts are entirely responsible for the show they’re hosting. This includes booking the artists that will play on the porch, registering the event with the Organizing Committee, notifying the neighbors on their block, and managing their show on the day of the event. This means that porch hosts should be comfortable with the legal liability of hosting a show on their porch and the responsibility of being a good neighbor to their immediate community.
Once you register your porch show via the sign-up form on our website, we’ll add it to our online map and include it the physical maps for the day of the event. We’ll keep you up to date with news and information, offer some tips/suggestions for making your show a success and possibly even invite you to a special gathering just for hosts and performers. We’ll also provide you with a poster (or two) to put up on your porch so that everyone will know you’re hosting a show!
Porchfest runs from 12-6 pm, but that time is broken up into three 2 hour slots grouped by location. 12-2 pm is for porches south of Baltimore Ave. 2-4 pm is for porches north of Baltimore ave and east of 48th st. 4-6 pm is for porches north of Baltimore Ave and west of 48th st. These zones are designed to keep Porchfest walkable and accessible. We strongly recommend porches schedule their shows during the time slot that corresponds with their location to insure that the performers get the benefit of the entire Porchfest audience.
You can find an online interactive version of the map on our home page. You can find paper printouts of the map and lineup at our local business partners on the day of the event.
We do not charge any ticket price for audience members. We do not charge any registration fees for porch hosts. We certainly do not charge artists for the chance to perform! Some porch hosts may pay their artists. Some porches may provide a way to tip the artists performing. Each of these is at the discretion of the host. Because Porchfest is free for everyone, we are grateful for any donations you can afford. The money you donate is not tax-deductible, but it does all go directly to making this community event possible.
Porchfest is put on by the West Philly Porchfest Organizing Committee, an all-volunteer group of neighborhood residents who came together to create the first West Philly Porchfest in 2016.
Porchfest is an all-volunteer effort and we would love to have your help! Flyering, organizational outreach, and design work are done by volunteers. If you would like to learn more about ways in which you can donate your time to Porchfest, send an email with your interests and general availability to WestPhillyPorchfest@gmail.com (Talk about Organizing Committee level engagement?)
Thanks for asking. Porchfest runs entirely on donations, so we very much appreciate your support! The easiest way to contribute is to send us a donation via PayPal. If you would like to write a physical check or make a cash donation please email WestPhillyPorchfest@gmail.com to make arrangements.