CRANFORD, NJ — On Saturday, Oct. 21, Cranford hosted its annual Porchfest. Eight private homes in town offered their porches and lawns for musical acts to perform various types of music throughout the day. The community music festival, which began in 2017, is open to all and for all ages to enjoy.
The event was inspired by a neighborhood music festival in Ithaca, N.Y. Porchfest happens every second Saturday of October. Organizers, performers, porch hosts and others who participate are all volunteers who give freely of their time, talents, resources and hospitality as a neighborhood.
George Harris, a Cranford resident retired from the Police Department, was enjoying the David Robinson Duo, who played on Van Buren Avenue. “What’s better than having music in your backyard?” he asked.
“It brings the community together,” added Mike Kniazuk.
Asbury Jam was rocking out on a front porch on Dorchester Avenue. They entertained the crowd with “Pretend We’re Dead” by L7 and “Rockin’ in the Free World” by Neil Young.
Ginnie Blackwell of Wingfield raved, “It’s a variety of music. It becomes a big social event.”
Kim Rielly of Cranford said, “Anything that involves community and the arts, I’m all in.”
Donna Caldwell, also of Cranford, added, “I love seeing people I haven’t seen in a while.”
Fry and Deeg rocked the large crowd on the porch of a home on Thomas Street, opening their set with “Take it Easy” by The Eagles and “Doctor My Eyes” by Jackson Browne.
It was homeowner Jeannie Principale and her husband John Principale’s first year participating in Porchfest. “We love Porchfest,” she said. “We built a porch and want to celebrate. It’s a great excuse to have a mini block party. I would do it again. We’re lucky, we know all our neighbors.”
Over on Livingston Avenue, young girls were having fun selling lemonade.
Antonio Pugliese of Cranford said he enjoyed socializing with his neighbors and “noticing local talent you didn’t know existed.”
Other talent performing throughout the day included: Jampagne, performing acoustic covers; Erin Cook, playing alternative rock covers and music for children; Firepit, a classic rock jam band; Secondary Location, acoustic covers; Band Substance, rock/pop covers; Claudine and David, folk pop; Triphammer, rock; Vienna Stivala, country/acoustic; The Coverup, rock; Exit 11, alternative rock; Rob Mattarrazzo, acoustic rock; I Found the Clouds, alternative; JJM Quartet, jazz/blues; Cumbersome, rock covers; Valencia School of Music, rock covers; Isabella Pombrio, singer/songwriter; Been There Done That, rock; Outside the Box, classic rock; Higher Ground, rock/country; Burnside Manor, pop punk; Corralling Catz, rock; Kevin Harrison and True North, original rock; Quadraphonic Lettuce, rock/alternative; Brender and Eddie, acoustic; No Strings Attached, classic rock; Binge, rock covers; and Blisstique.
Porch performances went on throughout the day, from 1:30 to 5:15 p.m., with a 5:45 p.m. finale in downtown Cranford.
Each year, Porchfest has been sponsored by Cranford Community Connection and gets bigger as the outreach grows. Bands come back year after year, bringing their fans with them.
To learn more about Porchfest, visit: https://www.cranford.cc/porchfest.
Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta