Aug 18, 2023 - Things to Do

Porch concerts are bringing Richmond neighborhoods together

The Tiny Porch concert in July with Freddy and Tina playing. Image: Courtesy of Paul Spicer

Richmond is becoming a hotbed of pop-up yard and porch concerts.

What's happening: On Sunday, the Woodland Heights neighborhood association is hosting the third installment of its Tiny Porch Concerts series.

  • The event was inspired by Porchella, the front porch concert series Northside's Bellevue neighborhood started during COVID and now hosts every spring and fall, Tiny Porch co-organizer Emily McMillen tells Axios.

Why it matters: The community-driven, hyper-local and free concerts celebrate three things Richmond does incredibly well: neighborhoods, front porches and live music.

Woodland Heights residents started talking about doing something south of the river to bring folks together during the pandemic, but ultimately, the first Tiny Porch concert didn't happen until this summer in June.

  • The response was fantastic, McMillen says, and what was meant to be a one-time event is now planned monthly through October and definitely again for 2024.

How it works: This Sunday from 5-8pm, three houses in Woodland Heights will host two bands each for six sets, played live from their front porches (and one backyard because of busy and loud Semmes Avenue).

  • All the bands are local. All the shows are free and within a few blocks of each other, and kids and dogs are welcome.
  • Plus, Southside-owned food truck River City Wood Fire will be slinging and selling pizza at the entrance to Fonticello Park within the event footprint.
JC Kuhl with Kegtet in July. Image: Courtesy of Paul Spicer

What they're saying: "Neighborhoods are better when people know each other and look out for each other," McMillen says, adding that events like these are great for those who may not otherwise reach out to neighbors.

And the series has truly become a broader community affair, she says.

  • The Porchella organizers gave them tips for organizing Tiny Porches.
  • Dozens of residents volunteered their porches for future shows or to lend equipment to host houses or to perform.
  • Plus, they worked with the neighboring Forest Hill neighborhood to ensure their dates don't conflict with Forest Hill's free park concert series, Music in the Park.

State of play: Richmond has long been home for all kinds of musicians due to its central location along the I-95 corridor for touring groups, VCU's music program and its (comparatively and perhaps formerly) affordable living status.

  • If you don't know someone in a band, you haven't lived in Richmond long enough — or you don't know enough people.

Worth noting: The musicians are all volunteering their time and talent, but cash or Venmo tips are encouraged.


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