Heck With Garage Bands, Rock The Porch!

Ever since I first heard them mentioned during our state arts council’s grant panel discussion, I have been keeping an eye on the PorchRokr Festival up near Akron.

The hook of the festival is that the artists apply perform on people’s front porches. The audience can wander throughout the neighborhood and decide which lawn to recline on.

Truly an event with deep roots and involvement in the community (unless you want those damn kids to stay off your front lawn.)

What is great is that there an investment and willingness to share what has been learned with others.

I came across a mention of a community panel discussion in a couple weeks where the festival organizers will teach others about their process in advance of the upcoming festival.

Since the Eventbrite link will expire in a couple weeks, here is a description:

Have you ever wondered what it takes to plan and execute a community arts and cultural festival? Join us on Tuesday, August 9th to hear from Katie Carver Reed, Jon Morschl, and Anita Marron of PorchRokr Festival. We’ll learn what it takes to create PorchRokr and the influence the festival has on the local community.

This year’s PorchRokr festival takes place on August 20, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. in Highland Square. Over 100 bands and performers, rocking 30 porches, on 12 streets, all in one day.

PorchRokr is planned by the Highland Square Neighborhood Association, a Knight Arts Challenge recipient.

In the process of looking for that event listing, I discovered a group is partnering with PorchRokr to offer workshops for the performers over the course of a month.

Again an excerpt since the Facebook event will expire:

A collaborative partnership between The Highland Square Neighborhood Association PorchRokr Festival and Wandering Aesthetics, it is a way for performers – of all genres and all experience levels – to enhance their onstage presence, work through stage fright, brush up on invaluable performance skills and practice in front of an audience.

Each session is designed as a “one-off” workshop geared to nurture onstage success.

1) Making Contact: Overcoming Stage Fright & Forming a Genuine Connection (JULY 23)
2) Do Not Be Dismissed: Presence and Energy in Performance (JULY 30)
3) Seen, but Not Heard: Voice for the Performer (AUGUST 6)
4) From Vamping to Banter: Improv for the Unexpected (AUGUST 13)

*Participants are encouraged, but not required, to attend all four (4) sessions

I am encouraged and inspired by programs like these that recognize the value of helping artists help the festival help the audience to have a more enjoyable and memorable experience.

Even if you didn’t run a festival, the topics they cover would make for a good workshop series for any arts organization that was looking to make or strengthen connections with the community.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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