Rooster and I traveled to the Carmel PorchFest on a wet Sunday afternoon. The sun poked out of the clouds and the rain moved away before the music started, #Carmel #Indian #PorchFest #Art and Design District #Blaze Pizza #Yats #DysFUNKtion Brass #music #funk
The Art and Design District in the city of Carmel, Indiana sponsored one of the coolest events Rooster and I have ever attended. All it took was residents willing to donate their front porches, electricity for the amplified instruments, and a group of talented musicians to perform for the crowd of people swarming the streets. There wasn’t a single carnival ride, bouncy house, or food vendor selling elephant ears to be found anywhere at the festival.
This festival was all about the music. It gave the talented musicians in the area a venue where they could display their skills on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The simplicity of the event made PorchFest 2019 an amazing experience. It was something new and unique after all the look-alike festivals we have attended over the summer.
Rain almost put a stop to the Carmel PorchFest
We couldn’t travel to Carmel to make it on time to catch the start of PorchFest. Rooster and I didn’t think it would matter. A steady rain was pouring from the sky. We weren’t in a big hurry because we thought the event would probably be called on account of rain when we got there.
If we knew the rain was going to stop and the music was going to be outstanding we never would have stopped at Blaze to get a pizza. It’s one of our favorite places to eat lunch in the Carmel area. The pizza is made in an assembly line process in which you get to choose your own ingredients. I also love the mural of the underwater barefooted skate border, which covers the left wall. It makes me feel rebellious and causes me to believe all things are possible.
Had to grab a piece of Peanutbutter Pie
We really shouldn’t have gone across the street and stopped at Yats to grab a piece of their peanut butter pie. We missed out on some great music while we indulged in the decadent dessert.
PorchFest is a popular event, so every parking space filled in the parking garage by the time we searched for a space to slide our Chevy Spark into. We cruised the streets near the festival searching for a tiny spot to put the Hen House wagon. Rooster drove us around in circles for twenty minutes before we found an empty space on one of the side streets close to the block where the unmelodic sound of competing music filled the air. I was afraid my new car might be towed, but Rooster thought it would be okay.
Where does a person park?
There wasn’t a single sign anywhere that specified we were prohibited from parking in the spot. Music floated in the air as we climbed out of the car. The various styles of music created a cacophony of sound similar to what I’ve experienced at The French Quarter Music Fest in New Orleans.
The lack of harmony should repel, but instead, it attracts. We rambled down the street until we came to a large red sign and turned the corner. I was surprised to discover young men standing in a driveway under an awning playing some cool jazz. My assumption was this style of music was reserved for old folks like me. The narrow street in the upscale neighborhood was overflowing with people in a constant stream moving like a river of humanity from one porch to the next. The concept was sort of like Blaze Pizza.
We picked the style of music we wanted to listen to
The audience got to pick the music they wanted to listen to. A little Jazz here, a dap of blues there, and a large dollop of rock-n-roll to round out the flavor of the musical pie.
PorchFest isn’t a new concept. I’ve heard of similar events taking place in college towns in the south. I always wanted to take part in the experience, but never dreamed I’d have the opportunity. The concept is the embodiment of simplicity. The only ingredients you need is a front porch to make the perfect stage, electricity for the amplified instruments, and a cordoned-off street where an audience can sit and listen.
Behind the scenes work
Indeed, I’m sure a lot of behind the scenes work went into making one of these events a success. There’s the security you’d need to make certain everyone is safe while they have a good time. Permits from the city would be required. Musicians would have to be recruited to perform. Countless other essential elements would need to be considered. The city of Carmel is doing PorchFest right.
The music was fantastic. From the smiles on all the faces surrounding us, everyone was having a good time. Local merchants must have taken in a ton of revenue from all the money people spent before and after the event. Porchfest was a win/win for everybody. I believe the secret to making it special was the assortment of all the different types of music provided for the event and the skill of the performers.
They funked it up
Lowkey Jazz, Brother’s Footman, and DysFUNKtion Brass were among the favorites we heard during the festival. We thought Elizabeth Lee sounded like Nancy Griffith. At least two of the younger performers did covers of Beatles songs, proving the Fab-4 are classics and cross over generations. DysFunktion Brass was the last group we came upon.
The band looked like they would play something special, so we hung out while they warmed up. Right out of the box they launched into a version of New Orleans style funk music. The horns had a definite New Orleans rhythm and feel. I expected someone to yell out any second, “I feel like funking it up. I feel like funking it up.” I could picture this group leading us on a second line through the streets of Carmel.
Sorry to see the afternoon come to an end
We left before the band stopped playing to beat the rush of people leaving the area. PorchFest would be over as soon as they stopped playing. I was sorry to see the afternoon come to an end.
If you hear about a PorchFest taking place near you, grab a lawn chair, and head for the event as fast as you can. I believe you will discover it is a rewarding experience. Rooster and I plan to go back next year, only we won’t be late. We’ll grab an umbrella if rain is falling from the sky. We’ll come early, stay late, and dance to the music.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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