As the country began to emerge from a global pandemic at the end of 2020, my friend and singer/songwriter Judy Allison and I bonded over our love for live music. We missed concerts, small venues, and most of all, the sound and feel you can only get from hearing musicians share their talent in person. One night, we talked about how fun it would be to use porches along Pratt Avenue as stages and invite musicians to play. Judy told me about an event she’d participated in in Franklin, Tennessee, called Porch Fest. The concept was initially created in Ithaca, NewYork, in 2007. After that, the whole thing seemed predestined. I was in Five Points, and Judy had the musical connections to make it happen. From there, PorchFest Five Points was conceived.
Our first challenge, asking neighbors to participate, was much easier than we anticipated. We were strangers reaching out to homeowners asking them to host musicians on their porch for three hours! Surprisingly, but in the true spirit of the neighborhood, everyone responded with a “We’re in!” Once we had their support, I identified our inaugural porch sponsors, and Judy started reaching out to artists.
After some research, we learned that many musicians donate their time to perform for this type of event. Still, after a rough year spent in quarantine, we felt a sense of responsibility to give back to musicians, many of whom had spent a year without income. I reached out to local businesses and asked if they would be willing to support a new concept and sponsor a porch to help make this happen. The same sentiment from porch owners echoed – “We’re in!” Brandi Cagle with Keller Williams, Church Street Wine Shoppe, Engel & Volkers Realty Huntsville, Southern Reclaimed Salvage Barn, and Taco Mama stepped up immediately and became the original Porch Fest porch sponsors. It is their belief in community and supporting local that we were able to make this happen. This year, Star Market became our first Street Sponsor, and Liquor Express, Musicology, and the Orion Amphitheater joined us as Porch Sponsors.
Think again if you believe coordinating as many as four bands/artists and sound and lighting for a porch is easy. I watched Judy thoughtfully select each artist and band, pairing them with other similar musicians and on the porch that matched their vibe. Every detail is considered, and Judy is magic. I believe it is her attention to detail that inspired local artist Christina Wegman to paint one of the porches, which is now used to share Porch Fest Five Points on social media.
Because of our generous neighbors and sponsors (in-kind and monetary), this grassroots community music festival is now in its second year. Not only have we expanded from five porches to eight, but we’ve curated some of the best rising artists, bands, and songwriters from the region. There are additional sponsors, new artists, and the opportunity to be a part of something we feel truly represents the spirit of Five Points. We’re proud to have the community’s support and thankful for the opportunity to share live music in the city that we love.
What: PorchFest Five Points
When: May 7, 6 pm – 10 pm
Where: Five Points Huntsville, All along Pratt Avenue
For more information, go to PorchFest Five Points 2022 and follow us on Instagram
Presenting Sponsors: Huntsville Music Scene and Destination Huntsville.
Judy Allison is a Singer-Songwriter, Founder/CEO of Purple19, LLC and Huntsville Music Scene.
Jenny Askins is the Founder/CEO of Touronimo and CEO of Destination Huntsville.