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Up Close and Personal at PorchfestKC

Music festivals can be stressful. From parking to weather to scouting out a prime viewing spot, so many logistics go into ensuring a successful experience. Now, imagine being able to catch an intimate glimpse of more than 150 musical acts in the light of day, without having to worry about many of the traditional stressors of a festival setting. That’s part of the idea behind PorchFestKC, an all-day festival where residents open up their porches to performers, who play stripped down sets. It started in the West Plaza neighborhood in 2014, and now spreads over three KC neighborhoods: Valentine, Roanoke and the eastern edge of Volker. PorchFestKC happens this Saturday, Oct. 14, and gives audiences a chance to wander the streets of Midtown in search of their favorite new acts. Hear from a few of this year’s performers about why this event is so special.

Erin Eades:

“I love the intimacy that comes along with performing in a small public space, especially when a stranger opens part of their home to the performer and the community. During an event with over 150 bands, one might think that intimacy couldn't happen, but it does! It makes me proud to see hundreds of people flock to a neighborhood to support local music. I've gained fans from the event, have kept in touch with my porch host from last year, and get the opportunity to listen to dozens of bands I hadn’t heard before in a matter of hours. There is truly something for everyone at PorchFest.” Eades performs at 3752 Washington St. at noon.

Tammy Herzig (Violent Bear):

“It’s a lot of fun for us to change it up and do a more organic, stripped down version of our music, and playing in the afternoon allows us to chat with people after the set in a relaxed environment outside of a venue. As a mother, I love the family-friendly atmosphere where I can bring my kids to hang and listen to all kinds of music while walking block to block in such a beautiful KC neighborhood.” Violent Bear performs at 3564 Pennsylvania Ave. at noon.

Duncan Hill: 

“Last year, I was totally overjoyed and overwhelmed by the whole vibe of PorchFest. Even after six years of living in Austin, the fest capital of the world, I had not seen such a genuinely community-oriented event. The only reason to be there was the music. I've been in the business long enough to know that is practically never the case. And who doesn't love a good porch hang? That's pretty much what I do every weekend anyway, but less amazing. Also, the folks whose porch I played on were awesome and we're still in touch.” Hill performs at 3724 Jefferson St. at 3 p.m.

Amanda Hughey: 

“This will be my third year playing at PorchFest. It's such a brilliant idea, and something I have been so excited to be a part of. It is such a blast to have a whole neighborhood shut down and see the city come out to experience and support the local music. The atmosphere is so fun and lighthearted. It's just an all around great time.” Hughey performs at 3677 Jefferson St. at 1:30 p.m.

Erica McKenzie:

“I get a little emotional when I think on my first time playing PorchFestKC in 2016. It’s no ordinary festival. A variety of talented musicians have the opportunity to share their gifts to so many people. The love I felt from my audience that day is something I will never forget. When our community comes together to celebrate music in such a big way, it’s a really beautiful thing. [Festival organizer] Kathryn Golden is one extraordinary woman who has devoted herself to organizing a truly magnificent, wholesome and uniquely entertaining event that has become one of my favorite days of the year.” McKenzie performs at 3737 Jefferson St. at 4:30 p.m.

Jeff Stalnaker (Dinsdale):

“We love the fact that it’s a national event that has a large festival feel. The way it’s laid out gives attendees a chance to hear such a variety of acts. From a personal standpoint, I really enjoy the stripped down set. It allows us to turn down our amps and arrange songs in a pure way. No effects, just the music. Most of the songs were written on acoustic guitars so we can play the songs the way they were written. As a songwriter, that’s the most exciting part.” Dinsdale performs at 3715 Belleview Ave. at 4:30 p.m. For a complete schedule of acts and a map, visit porchfestkc.com. —Michelle Bacon is a writer for 90.9 The Bridge, and plays drums with Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @michelleobacon.

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