February 21st, 2024

A day of free outdoor tunes for all at PorchFest

By MO CRANKER, Special to the News on August 11, 2021.

The inaugural PorchFest - a new event in town encouraging Hatters to get outside and move, while showcasing some of the best music talent in the city - will take place on Aug. 28. -- SUBMITTED PHOTO

A new event in town will encourage Hatters to get outside and move, while showcasing some of the best music talent in the city.

The inaugural PorchFest will take place Aug. 28, and is part of a global movement, says organizer Rob Pape.

“The last Saturday of August is internationally known as Play Music on your Porch Day,” he said. “From that, a number of communities have begun introducing these PorchFests.

“My mother in law is actually a musician in Belleville, Ont. and she performs in the PorchFest there. All of that ignited the opportunity to do something here in Medicine Hat.”

Pape says he’s been looking for more safe ways that people can enjoy live music.

“As we have gone through this pandemic, we have realized how important it is to see each other and connect face-to-face,” he said. “It’s so important to get out and enjoy our beautiful community.

“With restrictions lifted, it was the perfect opportunity to do something like this. It was important to us to make sure this is safe and that everyone could take part in it.”

PorchFest will take part entirely on the Southeast Hill. Homeowners are lending out their porches to musicians to showcase talents to the community.

Viewers will drive or walk to the Hill, park somewhere, then follow a map to each stop. They are free to stroll by each stop for a quick visit, or they can bring a chair to enjoy each performer at length.

There are no tickets to the event, as it is free for all.

“To us, it’s a great way to get people out of the house and active,” said Pape. “We’re hoping to get some great weather for the day, so people can enjoy the outdoors.”

Work is being done to finalize details and Pape expects six to 10 porches to be utilized.

“Right now it’s a lot of finalizing and confirming things,” said Pape. “It’s the first time we’re doing this, so we’re learning new things as we go.”

Pape says the Southeast Hill is the perfect spot to launch this event.

“The houses are historic and beautiful,” he said. “People can come, enjoy the music, then walk to Central Park to enjoy some disc golf or the new play set there.

“The Hill is also very central to the city, so people can come here from all over town and not travel too far.”

Like any event in public or private space, Pape hopes people are respectful to their surroundings.

“The homeowners know that people will be walking on their lawns and maybe even setting up a chair – that’s part of the fun,” he said. “We just want to remind people that they will be at someone’s home, and we hope that they treat each space with respect.”

Pape added that support from the city has made the event possible.

“The Community Vibrancy Grant has made this happen,” he said. “We’re also looking for local businesses to sponsor the day. People can reach out to me and we can figure something out.”

More information can be found at PorchFest Medicine Hat’s Facebook page.

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