May 12, 2023 - Things to Do

What to expect at Porchfest 2023 in Somerville

a band performs on a house porch

Jan Marie sings with the Humdingers at the 2017 Porchfest. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Tomorrow is Somerville's big day as Porchfest 2023 brings over 350 musical acts and other artists to front yards, stoops, open garages and yes, porches, all over the city.

What's happening: Porchfest is a little different from your normal music fest. Instead of stages, concessions and port-a-potties, Porchfest is decentralized, with bands playing in pockets all around the city, up close and personal in front of roving attendees.

  • Last year, over 200 groups performed music from nearly every genre imaginable.

Details: The music kicks off at noon in the western portion of Somerville (west of Willow Avenue).

  • Performances between Willow and Central Street start around 2pm and the eastern section shows start at 4pm.

Pro tip: You could use the festival's map to find your way around, but the event is mostly about letting your ears guide your feet from porch to porch to take in the musical buffet.

Who's playing: It seems like everybody who's anybody in the Boston music scene will be there. Here are some suggestions, but let the music of the moment be your guide.

  • Rock band 83 in a Minivan
  • Indie rock from Austin Wiley and Infinite Sleepover
  • Hip-hop and techno from Bell System and friends
  • Folk singer Christina Lacoste
  • Bluegrass from the Incorrigible String Band
  • Funk band Kenmore & West
  • and many, many more

The Somerville Arts Council organizes the mammoth musical bill and asks audience members to respect neighboring property, stay on the sidewalks and refrain from public drinking.

  • Since the performances are mostly conducted on private property, it's up to residents to inform their neighbors and to ensure that the musicians they're hosting will be respectful.
  • And yes, there will be some port-a-potties.

Editor's note: The photo caption was updated to correct Getty's spelling of Jan Marie's name.


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