Special Porchfest Finale: GARAGE BAND 6-8PM

After the last porches wrap up 6pm June 8th, come to Arlington Service Station, 334 Mass Ave, for GARAGE BAND, a special dance party finale that caps off Arlington Porchfest 2019 from 6-8PM.

GARAGE BAND is a pop-up dance party, a celebration of community, a gathering in an unusual venue, the Arlington Global Service Station, a classic auto service station that has become, thanks to input from neighborhood artist Johnny Lapham, a public art landmark in the heart of Arlington’s Cultural District.

The service station’s owner Abe Salhi was inspired to bring art to his establishment when he heard about his neighborhood’s designation as Arlington’s first Cultural District. He cooked up a design with Lapham, an artist and long-time client who lived just down the street, and now the station’s canopy and upper walls are embellished with colorful circles and stripes out of a Dr. Seuss story.

Now the vibrant service station will also serve as host to a celebratory dance free-for-all, sponsored by the newly established Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture along with Porchfest promoters, the Arlington Center for the ArtsGARAGE BAND is the musical culmination of all the tonalities generated by the participants in this year’s Porchfest.

Bringing the party to the Arlington Global Service Station will be the highly acclaimed old school funk and R&B Bittersweet Band, along with the 100-member community street band School of HONK.

School of HONK has been exciting audiences since its creation as an inclusive community street band, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to play music and have fun. The diverse musicians of this ensemble bring joy and outrageous energy to the streets every time they appear in their distinctive thrifted polka dotted costuming.

The Bittersweet Band plays an irresistible blend of funk, soul, and classic R&B guaranteed to get people up on their dancing feet. With members drawn from Philadelphia, Virginia, New York and elsewhere, these talented players know how to lock in the groove. Drummer and leader Greg “PoPPa’G” Baker built up his chops backing up the Village People, touring with them during the height of their popularity. Bittersweet’s singer Tracy Howerton consistently knocks it out of the park with his outstanding lead vocals.

GARAGE BAND is organized with assistance from the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture’s Programs and Festivals Committee, an activist group of local arts leaders. “We launched Live Arts Arlington as a new program to bring music, dance and visual arts to public spaces in Arlington this year,” explains chair Tom Davison. “Garage Band will be our signature event.”

“Believe me, on Saturday, June 8, this dance party will be THE place to be in Arlington,” added committee member Lidia Kenig-Scher.

COMMUNITY TIPS & good neighbor guidelines

Let’s work together to promote a happy community vibe during Porchfest!

Here’s our list of top community tips and good neighbor guidelines:

  1. HOSTS: Please let your neighbors know you’ll be hosting music on your porch.   You can use our official neighborhood invitation  to spread the word.  Please fill in your porch info and distribute to homes within ear shot of your porch.
  2. BANDS: Please play at a “neighbor-friendly” volume, especially in our residential streets and neighborhoods.  Your neighbors’ windows should not be shaking!  If a neighbor asks you to turn down, please do.  This will help Porchfest continue from year to year.
  3. HOSTS and BANDS:
    Be in touch with each other to confirm arrival times, electric needs (if any) and break down time to transition to the next band.

    b. Check the Porchfest map/schedule to see if there are other porches within earshot of yours. This can be good!  Porchfest listeners/visitors often seek out clusters of bands to visit.  Check in with any nearby porch(es) to coordinate volume levels or schedule alternating sets.

    c. Please wrap up your music by the end of the scheduled time(s) for your porch.  Every year we receive complaints and Police reports of music going too late into the evening – please help us protect the future of Porchfest by sticking with your official time slot.


  1. Please be respectful of people’s private property.
  2. Walk or ride your bike if you can to keep car traffic down.
  3. Please be mindful of car traffic on the streets and do not block the roadways.
  4. Please keep drinks on private property, not in the street.
  5. Please say hello and thanks to members of the Arlington Police Department, who will be out and about during Porchfest as part of their Community Policing efforts. We thank them for their support for Arlington Porchfest!

    Porchfest works because we all work together to be a respectful and law-abiding community. Let’s keep it that way.

    Thanks everyone!  

Missed the deadline for the printed map? It’s not too late to participate!

We are still accepting sign-ups from bands, and from new porches that already have bands lined up. If you are a band looking to play at this year’s Porchfest, sign up and reach out to a porch with slots still open.  If you are a late-signing porch with bands, sign up your porch and write in your band’s schedule. Although you won’t show up on the printed map, you’ll be in our on-line schedule.

Seeking performers and artists for Porchfest Pride Stage

The Arlington, MA Lgbtqia+ Rainbow Commission is excited to be hosting the first Arlington Porchfest PRIDE Stage on Saturday, June 8 (rain date June 9).

We’re looking for an LGBTQIA+ performer/band for the 12 pm spot and another for 1 pm. The stage is the Academy St. entrance to the Senior Center (27 Maple St.). If no LGBTQIA+ performers are available, we’re open to allies playing songs by LGBTQIA+ artists.

We’re also looking for a visual arts display related to LGBTQIA+/human rights issues (and/or rainbows!).

Now that you’ve registered …

… let’s keep Porchfest matches firing!
Is your band all dressed up, with no place to play?
Is your porch lonely, without a single band in your schedule?
  • IT’S UP TO YOU, bands, artists, and porch hosts, to secure your place at Porchfest.  Use the status field  (filter for “looking for a band”, “looking for a porch”, or “looking for an exhibit”)  in the search engine. Once you’ve found a potential match ,  send a message to porch hosts, or bands or artists, to see if you can work something out.
  • If you get an enquiry, PLEASE RESPOND PROMPTLY (even if you can’t respond affirmatively, it’s helpful to acknowledge every query ASAP so that the band, artist,  or porch host can keep looking for the right match).
  • Once a band or artist and a porch have reached an agreement, it’s up to porch hosts to  “close the loop”  by updating their listing so that the band or artist is scheduled.
Thanks for making our fourth annual Arlington Porchfest the best ever!

Two Weeks Left to Sign Up

Arlington Porchfest registration is rolling along, with 64 porches, 125 performances, and 9 visual art exhibits so far. Thanks, everyone! Here’s the current layout of who’s signed up:

More porch hosts needed: There are more bands/performers looking for a porch than there are porches looking for bands.

More visual art exhibits needed: There are 15 porch hosts looking for visual arts to complement their performances.

Please spread the word that we need more porch hosts and more artists to register. Registration is open through May 10.


Is your porch feeling a bit lonely? Create a neighborhood cluster!

We at “Porchfest Central” welcome porches (as well as front steps, lawns, and driveways) in any location in Arlington. We do notice that people tend to go to porches where there are other porches with performers within walking distance.  With a little planning and communication, you and your neighbors can create a cluster that becomes a Porchfest destination. To help explain the details, we turned to Porchfest veteran Dottie Nash-Webber, who has led the effort to make Bartlett Ave a “must-visit” street.

What makes a cluster? We recommend 3 or more performance locations (a porch, driveway or lawn) within 4 blocks that would be attractive to musicians, and/or dancers, and/or visual artists.

Step 1: Choose at least one neighbor who you think might also like to host. Write a hand written note, phone or email suggesting that they join you to work together on this project.  Your co-chair will know some neighbors better than you do and will have  some new ideas about how to make your cluster successful.  You also have the beginning of a committee.

Step 2:  What will your cluster be like? Hold an organizational meeting. Dottie goes door to door, making sure her neighbors get an invitation to meet to brainstorm and develop a collaborate vision.  Which leads to the next step…

Step 3: Brainstorm a list of what needs to be done, and ask for volunteers for the various tasks. Bartlett Avenue’s list this year includes recruiting more porches/driveways/lawns (in some cases with themes: a French cafe at one porch, dance troupes at another, etc), making signs to put on every corner of the neighborhood to help visitors find their way to performances, even making food as a thank you to performers!  Your neighborhood may have a very different vision for your neighborhood on Porchfest day, and thus, its own unique “to do” list.  At the meeting, have attendees choose what they will work on and identify other neighbors who might volunteer for the remaining tasks. Follow-up with each other every few days via broadcast email with progress and what still needs to be accomplished.

Step 4:  Create a schedule and deadline. The Porchfest process is labor intensive on both ends with a lull in the middle.  There is a PorchFest deadline in May for when porches and performers must have registered on the website to be included on the printed map.  Dottie suggests that your neighborhood deadline be much earlier and that neighbors push hard to contact performers and artists asap!  Make the contacts.  Choose what goes where.  Put everything on website. Relax and smile at a job well done!

Step 5: Choose musicians, dancers, artists, etc. The easiest way to do this is by using the Porchfest website and contacting groups and individuals who are “looking for a porch.”  Bartlett Ave. neighbors also contact groups and artists they know and networked to find International acts and young performers.  These groups would then have to list on the Porchfest website along with the location where they will be performing.  A volunteer to coordinate this piece is very helpful.

Step 6: Send out the line-up to the larger neighborhood a few days before Porchfest. The Bartlett Avenue cluster included performances on nearby Jason Street, Newman Way, and Windermere Ave. They distributed 140 flyers to “warn” the neighbors that there would be more noise and traffic and to market the various acts and artists.

Step 7: Porchfest Day.  Volunteer to be Stage Manager/Contact person. There are always last minute questions from hosts and performers/artists,  and sometimes glitches.  It is critical to have a neighborhood contact person to help during the neighborhood’s hours of operation. All involved need to exchange cell phone numbers.

Finally –  As always, we are here to help. Contact us at info@arlingtonporchfest.org if questions arise as you are assembling your neighborhood cluster.




Help! We need somebody…

Help! Not just anybody ..

Porchfest is a big team effort, with the help of lots of great folks – like you!
Here are just some of the ways you can get involved:

Help us now by:

  • promoting the event! Hang posters, share with your networks, let us know your ideas to generate BUZZ!
  • promoting participants! We’d love to show off the talent that’s signing up. Help us feature a band or artist of the week!
  • working with ACA and Arlington Rainbow Commission on developing a LGBTQ Pride Stage/Picnic, in celebration of Boston Gay Pride (also on June 8).
  • helping to recruit sponsors (in conjunction with ACA)

Next month you can help by:

  • distributing lawn signs
  • creating & distributing donation buckets for porches

On the Porchfest day, June 8th, you can help by:

  • joining the Porchfest Tent Crew – pass out maps at Porchfest HQ (Whittemore Park)
  • riding with the Porch Posse – bike around a designated zone to pass out maps, count attendance, and be an all-around Porchfest ambassador
  • taking photos/video on the day of Porchfest
  • posting & live streaming on the day of

Won’t you please, please help Porchfest?

Contact us: info@arlingtonporchfest