Andy Brasher and Tamarra Miller, the founders and organizers of PorchFest OBKY, are proud to announce that the family-friendly music event that stretched out over half a mile of Griffith Avenue in 2018 will return in early summer 2019.
The one-day, open air music festival was free to the public and encouraged listeners to bring their chairs, their strollers and their families as they casually moved from “stage” to “stage,” and lawn to lawn, to enjoy various genres of music.
When Brasher and Miller imagined the event, they anticipated a turnout of 400-500 people in order to count it a success. To their surprise, an estimated 2,000 people of all ages filled the street. They attribute this to the many sponsors, small business owners, and gracious “porch hosts” that helped transform spacious porches into welcoming concert stages for local musicians.
The two said the Griffith Avenue location was perfect because “the area itself asks people to hold themselves to a higher standard.” For this reason, they put aside any concerns about things going wrong and said, “the community proved us right in the way they behaved — with that many people.”
Brasher found the inspiration for PorchFest three years ago while he was traveling and performing in New Orleans. After asking a friend, “What’s a PorchFest?” and “What do I do?” Brasher soon found himself setting up his gear on a local dentist’s porch with over 40 people watching. After attending a similar event in Evansville against a backdrop of storefronts at Haynie’s Corner, Brasher thought, “Owensboro has a community that would embrace this.” With Brasher’s musical talent and Miller’s strength in event planning, the duo felt it was their responsibility to bring the event to Owensboro. Many Griffith Avenue residents are pleased that they did.
Ben and Lori Scholl served as porch hosts for three artists, including local favorite Josh Merritt. Lori Scholl said, “It was an effortless event for the homeowners. All we needed to provide was an outlet and a porch,” and ensure the lawn was mowed prior to the event. The couple said they originally agreed to participate because the event fostered their love of music and their appreciation for Owensboro. With the summer weather in their favor, Scholl said of the experience, “It turned our neighborhood into a simpler time when kids ran around, friends danced and mingled, and we put our phones down to be in the moment.”
Another neighborhood couple shared that watching the children and their families visit up and down the street “brought life back to Griffith Avenue,” and was a reminder of “the way things used to be.”
Now that Brasher and Miller have one year under their belt, the two have an idea of what to expect next year.
Somehow, Brasher says, within a half-mile of porches, and over 2,000 people, they were able to maintain a “hometowny” feel. With the anticipation of many more visitors next year, they have plans to “branch out” down Griffith Avenue to keep that cozy environment intact. Brasher and Miller say they already have a waiting list for for hosts, with and without porches, as well as willing artists. The two also plan to increase the number of food trucks and portable restrooms available, as well as work with the City of Owensboro event director in closing off a portion of the street to ensure visitors’ safety.
Brasher said he looks forward to bringing music back to the area next summer, but it is the neighborly feel he looks forward to the most. “Music was just the vehicle for this community togetherness.”
PorchFest 2019 Looking for Original Poster and T-shirt Design
The PorchFest OBKY founders are hoping to feature the talent of a local graphic artist that will help define the face of the 2019 PorchFest event. Local artists are encouraged to submit original designs to [email protected]