Oregon's First Porchfest

Grants Pass Porchfest 2017

June 17, 2017 - Grants Pass, OR

The Widdison Family Revue played in front of their house on Lawnridge Avenue in Grants Pass, OR.

90 musicians. 3 hours. 17 porches.

This is Oregon’s first official Porchfest in the Northwest Washington neighborhood of Grants Pass, where old homes play venue to a swath of musical genres from bluegrass to pop.

Hundreds of attendees strolled about, taking in the sights and sounds at each home. If they were particularly vibing somewhere, people sat or laid upon the grass to take it in. Many brought their own folding chairs so they would always have a seat to bring from lawn to lawn.

While the draw may have been the dozens of local musicians, the event also showcased the historic homes themselves. One lawn displayed a tree from which hung lanterns and a chandelier while folksy country played from the porch.

The event was put on by Linda Scott, who moved to Grants Pass from Napa, CA, where she’d often enjoyed going to the local Porch Fest every year.

“I had the opportunity to attend the event a few times, and saw what a fun, community-building event it was,” Scott told Curbside Press.

It took six months to put the event together here in Grants Pass and Scott said it has been a rewarding experience, with the community helping make this event a reality.

Dutch Bros. was one of the event sponsors and provided free drinks for attendees.

“Porchfest has received tremendous support from the event area neighbors, sponsors, musicians, participating organizations, vendors, and our wonderful volunteers,” Scott said.

Volunteers ranged from children to adults and were posted at each of the roadblocks set up to allow this event to span several blocks and make it safe for the families to walk about without the threat of traffic.

The event was free, though tips for the musicians and vendors were encouraged.

All people had to do was walk or bike to one of the cordoned off streets, where volunteers handed out event maps of the acts and where they would be playing.

Having this street closed to cars meant that the grassy medians in the middle of the road acted as extra space for attendees to laze about and listen to music, eat some food, or cool off with a free drink from the nearby Dutch Bros. tent.

The plan is for this to be an annual event, and Scott says that the positive response led to even more homeowners offering up porches than they planned for this year. More porches means more support for local music next year.

With such a positive response in Grants Pass, other Oregon communities may look to join in on the trend of porch festivals.

As Scott says: “Every community is a good place for Porchfest.”

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