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Porchfest provides live music to Milwaukie neighborhoods

The Milwaukie Arts Committee had hoped for a public music festival this year. Because of COVID-19, the change of plans turned into a 4-week Porchfest.

MILWAUKIE, Ore. — You’re probably sick of hearing it but COVID-19 has changed just about everything.

“Before the pandemic, we were planning to do an event where we would maybe close down a block of a street and have a big band and have a festival all day and have food carts and it became pretty clear that wasn’t going to be able to happen,” said Samantha Swindler, a member of the Milwaukie Arts Committee.

The idea for an inaugural music festival fell through and settling for something virtual just wouldn’t cut it.

Porchfest Milwaukie 2020 is a decentralized event where we are inviting people to perform on their own porches,” she said.

Every Friday from August 21 to September 11, at 7p.m., you can sign up to perform from the comfort of your front porch as a part of Porchfest.

Good morning, Milwaukie! Today is our first week of . We invite you to come outside from 7-8 p.m. and play music, dance, juggle or sing outside your home. Or, walk or bike your neighborhood to enjoy the talents of your neighbors while staying safe and socially distanced.

“There really is no criteria to sign up for Porchfest. We have a heavy metal rock band, bagpiper, show tunes,” Swindler said.

The Milwaukie Porchfest website has a map where you can find where each performer will be. It’s not limited to just porches, some performances will take place in other public spaces. Local songwriter Joe Kerry New signed up to play some acoustic tunes.

“I’m just going to use a little Fender P.A. I’ve been kicking around for a long time, it’s not going to be Metallica or anything,” said New. “I know people especially if they’re housebound and barn-soured they probably want to get out and shake their tailfeather!”

“We definitely want to make sure people are socially distanced and not forming large crowds, but the response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Swindler. “Both from people in the community -- but also people who have been cooped up for months.”

If you don’t live in Milwaukie or maybe you don’t feel like venturing out, there will be a live stream of one performance each week. Swindler hopes that Porchfest will return for next year, with maybe a little less distance and a lot more gathering.

“I don’t know what it will look like next year, but maybe this format is what everybody was wanting anyway, so maybe we’ll just keep it the same.”

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