Music in the streets: River City PorchFest to debut in Colonial Heights and Tahoe Park

By Laura I. Winn

Live music from over two dozen Sacramento area bands and solo arts will fill the streets in the neighborhoods of Tahoe Park and Colonial Heights on Sunday, Sept. 17 for the River City PorchFest 2017. Neighborhood hosts have offered up their porches and driveways for these free concerts that will begin at noon and run until 6 p.m. While Sacramento has played host to various porch fests in years past, this is the first year for the non-profit River City PorchFest, which aims to attract over 2,000 attendees and benefit local music programs in the participating neighborhoods from funds raised through donations and grants.

“I’d like to give back in the form of music,” explained the event’s organizer, Blake Villa. “I’ve turned around crappy days with music.”

Villa, who previously worked in corporate development for Napa’s Bottlerock Music Festival and has personally funded much of River City PorchFest, said he was inspired by the success of Napa’s yearly Porchfest and wanted to create a similar, sustained event for Sacramento. “Sacramento is a growing and hustling town, and we want to put ourselves in the middle of that. Performing arts is key to any flourishing city.”

As of press time, the event had scheduled 25 bands plus one dance troupe to perform outside of eight homes and was still looking for more hosts and musicians to participate.

For hosts like Allison Stelly of Colonial Heights, the fest is an easy way to give back to the community. “There’s no cost, no set up, nothing for me to do but clean up my yard!” Stelly said with a laugh.

Stelly, who moved to Sacramento from the Bay last September, said she also signed up because the fest reminded her of the events she loved in San Francisco. At her porch, guests will be greeted by the sounds of blues from singer/songwriter Lauren Wakefield, rockabilly from The Twilight Drifters and indie folk rock from The Fontaine Classics. The young ladies in BlyueRose Dance Project will also perform. In addition to promoting the arts, Stelly said she sees the fest as a way to put the “fantastic little neighborhood” of Colonial Heights on the map.

Over in Tahoe Park, porch fest veteran Be Brave Bold Robot will bring its one-of-a-kind folk/spoken word/indie blend to 61st Street. As part of the reason the band signed up this year, singer/songwriter Dean Haackenson pointed to the cool feeling of a block party created at past porch fests, although he added that those prior Downtown fests organized by Mike Philips were held at homes clustered closer together than River City PorchFest’s setup. “But the biggest benefit is the sense of community that is fostered by bands playing at porches, and then the crowd walking over to another porch, experiencing the neighborhood,” he said by email.

If you want to experience the neighborhoods and the music, you are encouraged to walk or bike through the streets and bring a chair or blanket, plus sunscreen and water.

For more information, visit rivercityporchfest.com. A schedule listing the performing acts and addresses will be posted closer to the event.

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