host signups open through 7/25
performer signups open through 8/5

the 4th annual binghamton porchfest
8/26/18

Binghamton Porchfest returns to the West Side for its fourth annual installment on Sunday, August 26, 2018, from 12-7pm.

A free celebration of community, music, and togetherness, Porchfest is the grassroots collaborative effort of hundreds of individual musicians and dozens of resident hosts of the West Side neighborhood of Binghamton (specifically the including and directly surrounding the historic Abel Bennett Tract) who get together on the last Sunday of every August to boogie down with their neighbors to the sounds of over 100 musical acts, presented on the front porches, stoops, and lawns of volunteering homes and businesses.

Interested in sponsoring/vending/volunteering?
email binghamtonporchfest@gmail.com

Website and all the technical things we can't do by Paul Koanui, 2018.
We'd be lost without you, Paul!

Back to Binghamton Porchfest Home

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What’s this Porchfest thing you speak of?
A free celebration of community, music, and togetherness, Porchfest is the grassroots collaborative effort of hundreds of individual musicians and dozens of resident hosts of the West Side neighborhood of Binghamton (specifically the including and directly surrounding the historic Abel Bennett Tract) who get together on the last Sunday of every August to boogie down with their neighbors to the sounds of over 100 musical acts, presented on the front porches, stoops, and lawns of volunteering homes and businesses.

Based on a grassroots, decentralized festival model created by residents of Ithaca, NY in 2007—which has since led to over 100 similar independently operated festivals across the US and Canada—Binghamton Porchfest turns stoops into stages, yards into venues, neighbors into promoters, and the West Side into a gigantic celebration of community togetherness. Kind of like a giant block party, but with more blocks, more bands, and less mac salad sitting in the heat.

Dozens of residents offer up the use of their front porches to hundreds of different musicians who perform over the course of seven hours to thousands of attendees who spend their afternoon meandering the neighborhood by foot, bike, jazzy scooter, or unicycle. While it’s happening, the neighborhood is welcome to make of it what they will: in past years, we’ve seen people offer lemonade stands, garage sales, impromptu break dance showcases, and magic shows, just to name a few. Sky’s the limit!

It’s a real hoot. Get involved. Come out and join the party. We’ll be dancin’ in the streets!

When is this happening?
The fourth annual Binghamton Porchfest takes place from noon-7pm on August 26, 2018. We hope to keep this tradition going on the last Sunday of August from now until the end of the world! (Speaking of the end of the world, while technically this is a rain or shine event, a worst-case scenario rain date is scheduled for the following Sunday, September 2).

Where does it take place?
Binghamton Porchfest takes place at various mostly-residential locations in a portion of the West Side neighborhood of Binghamton. Porches is a bit too particular of a word-- you’ll see music performed on stoops, driveways, front yards… you get the idea. Participating locations lie within (roughly) the borders of Riverside Drive, Beethoven Street, Main Street, and Front Street.

Is this a family friendly event?
It sure is! With so many different musical genres being represented, music lovers of all ages are bound to find something to put a shimmy in their step. Bring the kids, bring the in-laws, bring friendly dogs!

I can bring my dog and dress him up in a tu-tu?
Oh yes, you sure can. Pretty please?

I can bring my in-laws and dress them up in tu-tu’s, too?
Well, sure, but aren’t they already upset enough that their daughter married you instead of Chad the doctor? Be more like Chad the doctor. He drives an Audi, yunno.

This sounds like a hoot. I want to be a part of Binghamton Porchfest!
It is such a hoot. We want you to be a part of it too! Hosts and performers, click the links below to signup. Sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and other interested parties, drop us a line at binghamtonporchfest@gmail.com.

What’s the signup deadline?
Interested hosts should sign up no later than July 25: we know this sounds early but it’s the only way we can make sure the powers that be have the info they need to make sure we’re “having a festival” and not “disturbing the peace.” Interested performers should sign up no later than August 5. If you miss the deadline, we’re not going to tell you that you can’t play music on your front porch, just that we can’t help out with any promo. Sign up early- we want to tell the world about you! Interested sponsors, call us any time of the day or night, we need your money!

Do I have to sign up to play? Can’t I just play music on my front porch any ol’ time?
You musician types all want a reason to rebel, don’t you? Well no, technically speaking, you don’t need our permission or any sort of official “okay” to sit and strum an acoustic instrument on your porch, on August 26 or any other day. But we’re putting so much work into scheduling this thing, we sure would like to include you in all the promo. By signing up (by August 5), you become an official part of this neighborhood effort, which means we can put your name on the posters and in the programs and on the website and all that jazz. Which means people will come to see you play! And it probably means we’ll give you a coozie or a commemorative mug or something.

Can I walk to all the porches?
That depends on you. To get from one corner of the participating neighborhood to the other, you’re looking at about .6 miles, total. It’s walkable, but can get tiresome if you’re going back and forth all day- plan accordingly! If you’re in a wheelchair, please keep in mind that while the West Side neighborhood is mostly flat, there are a few small hills to conquer. For what it’s worth, we think the best way to experience Binghamton Porchfest is on a bicycle or unicycle.
If you’re planning on driving around the neighborhood, we’d like to remind to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists and that some blocks will be closed to traffic, and that parking is going to be a much bigger pain in the butt as the afternoon goes on.

Who’s performing?
Pretty much any live musician that wants to be a part of it. Last year, that meant almost 400 musicians performing in 120 different acts of varying genres, including folk, rock, bluegrass, blues, zydeco, brass bands, string quartets, acapella acts, punk, old-time, an African drum and dance ensemble, Vaudeville, reggae, a mentalist, big bands, jazz, Celtic, and world music. If you’re interested in performing, be sure to sign up on the Performers page by August 5. Full lineup will be posted at binghamtonporchfest.com during the second week of August.

Are the musicians paid?
Binghamton Porchfest is reliant each year on the combined volunteer efforts of hundreds of musicians, hosts, and neighbors. While we’re firm believers of supporting local musicians, an event of this scope simply wouldn’t be possible without the goodwill of the performers. Musicians may opt to put out tip jars during their performance or sell music and merchandise after their set. If you like what you hear, throw something in the jar or bring a CD home with you.

The best way you can support the local music scene is to be an active participant. Binghamton is full of great music, not just on August 26 but on the other 364 days of the year, too. Get on out to shows as often as you can!

I’m a DJ. Can I perform?
As much as we love all our local DJ friends, Binghamton Porchfest is about bringing live bands to the neighborhood- this isn’t the right venue to showcase your talents (unless of course you’re DJing as part of a band). We’re not equipped to deal with the added licensing fees, permits, and volume control that allowing DJs would entail- we hope you understand!

I’ve got a dance/theatre/improv/etc. troupe that I’d love to showcase at Porchfest!
We’d absolutely love to have you! Drop us a line at binghamtonporchfest@gmail.com and let us know what you’re thinking- we’ll do our best to coordinate with you and help you find the best place to perform!

I’m a food/craft vendor or non-profit organization and I’d like to set up a booth. Can I?
Properly licensed NYS food vendors and non-profits are welcome to set up on private property, with permission of the homeowner, throughout the neighborhood. It’s up to you to find a location and secure any necessary vending permits. For more info and regulations on vending, see the link below. If you’re planning anything, let us know so we can include you on the festival map. If you’re making a profit on Porchfest, you are strongly encouraged to become an event sponsor or to donate to the cause.

Additionally, we’ll be unveiling plans for a new vending village area at Porchfest this year. More info on that coming soon!

We will not be allowing political/campaign tabling at Porchfest. That’s what facebook is for.

Do I need a ticket?
Nope! Binghamton Porchfest is a completely free event. Attendees are encouraged to tip performers, and we’re more than happy to accept sponsorships or donations to offset festival costs like portapotties, insurance, and program printing. For more info, reach out to binghamtonporchfest@gmail.com.

Where can I find a map or schedule?
We can’t really show you this until after signups close, but check back here the second week of August and we’ll have all that ready to go. Additionally, we’ll be distributing several thousand paper programs to area businesses in the two weeks leading up to August 26. Programs will also be available the day of Binghamton Porchfest at participating porches.

Will you be closing down streets?
In past years, we’ve tried to avoid this, but for the sake of allowing Porchfest to grow, we will be shutting down select blocks to traffic this year. More info on this soon.

Where do I pee?
There will be port-a-potties scattered throughout the festival route, and real live facilities are available at a handful of neighborhood establishments, including Cavanaugh’s Grocery (69 Leroy St.), The Beef (62 Leroy St.), Abel’s Pub (65 Rotary Ave.), The Belmar (95 Main St.), The Bundy Museum (127 Main St.), Cyber Café West (176 Main St.) and Recreation Park (Beethoven St.). Check out the festival map for restroom locations.

Will there be food?
Properly licensed NYS food vendors and non-profits are welcome to set up on private property, with permission of the homeowner, throughout the neighborhood. It’s up to you to find a location and secure any necessary vending permits. For more info and regulations on vending, see the link below. If you’re planning anything, let us know so we can include you on the festival map. If you’re making a profit on Porchfest, you are strongly encouraged to become an event sponsor or to donate to the cause.

Additionally, we’ll be unveiling plans for a new vending village area at Porchfest this year. More info on that coming soon!

Will there be alcohol?
No alcohol will be served as an official part of Binghamton Porchfest, however if you’re looking to grab a quick brew, some of our participating venues are bars/restaurants that will be serving. If you’re looking for a refresher, think of checking out The Beef (62 Leroy St.), Abel’s Pub (65 Rotary Ave.), The Belmar Pub (95 Main St.) or Cyber Café West (176 Main St.). If you’re planning on bringing a cooler, please keep in mind that alcohol consumption/open containers are always illegal on sidewalks and city streets and open container laws will be enforced. Consumption on private property (porches/yards) is at the discretion of each hosting homeowner. Have fun, but remember that there’s kids around and you’ve got to work on Monday! Also, we really shouldn’t have to tell you this, but it’s really, really uncool to leave a pile of empties anywhere but a recycle bin. Don’t even think about it.

Is there a hashtag?
We’re not entirely sure what a hashtag is, but sure: #bingporchfest. Feel free to tag us in your tweetagrams and instabooks!

Who organizes this?
Binghamton Porchfest was founded by West Side resident Chris Bodnarczuk in 2015 as a gift to the community. In past years, the event was produced in tandem with Triple Cities Carousel, a local arts publication published until recently by Bodnarczuk. In 2018, we’re proud to have paired up with the Gorgeous Washington Street Association to produce the festival. GWSA is a great organization that has been the driving force behind the First Friday Art Walks for years, and they’re also a 501-c3 non-profit organization, which means that any donations to the festival are tax deductible! Of course, support is provided by our gracious sponsors and donors, and nothing would be possible without the help of our amazing hosts.

I live in the neighborhood and I’ve got to tell you, I’m really not too keen about this whole Porchfest thing.
We like to think of Porchfest as the best day of the year, but we do understand that Porchfest is not for everybody, and we do understand that there were a few complaints last year. We’ll be working closely with the hosts this year to ensure that music does not go too late (the event ends at 7pm, but some stages may get slightly backed up during the day, and so we appreciate your understanding if music goes just a little bit later at some porches). We’ve reevaluated the need for select street closures: yes, we will be closing down some key blocks from traffic this year, and we’ll have volunteers on hand to make sure that festival-goers aren’t converging on yards they shouldn’t be converging on. Anybody with specific concerns can direct them to binghamtonporchfest@gmail.com. We want this to be an event the neighborhood is proud of, not one it groans at, and we’ll do whatever we can do to make sure that’s the case!

What if it rains?
Shh! Don’t even say that filthy word. It’s not going to rain, and shame on you for bringing it up. But since you asked: theoretically speaking, Binghamton Porchfest is a rain or shine event. Organizers will be keeping a very close eye on the weather report in the days leading up to August 26. If a bit of inclement weather is an issue, we’ll be prepared to confront it with tarps and canopies and if necessary, a few venue changes. Of course, the safety of our performers and attendees is of the utmost importance, and if we’re in for something really bad, rain date is scheduled tentatively for the following Sunday, September 2. Keep an eye on our facebook page for any weather-related updates. But seriously, it’s not going to rain. It’s not. Stop worrying your pretty little head off about it. And stop saying that word.

What should I bring?
That’s up to you, but we suggest sunscreen, a folding chair or blanket, a bicycle, a cooler, some cash to tip the musicians with, a camera, some friends, and a healthy dose of wanderlust.

Will there be t-shirts or other merchandise available?
Yes! More info on Porchfest merch is coming soon(-ish). Expect t-shirts, mugs, coozies, stickers, and maybe some kazoos. Also, during or after their respective sets, bands may be selling t-shirts or CDs of their work stage side. If you like what you hear, take something home with you!

Website and all the technical things we can't do by Paul Koanui, 2018.
We'd be lost without you, Paul!