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Larchmere Porchfest Brings Music, People to Neighborhood

Once a summer for the past decade, 30 bands play free concerts from porches of homes and businesses throughout Cleveland’s Larchmere neighborhood. While organizers of Larchmere Porchfest have not increased the number of bands on the schedule, the event has grown in attendance from hundreds to thousands of people.

This year they are preparing for a crowd of 10,000 on Saturday, according to Dawn Arrington, Larchmere Porchfest’s president and board member.

Community volunteers coordinate the annual event based off a concept launched in Ithaca, New York, which has spread to communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Larchmere Porchfest stemmed from some neighbors brainstorming ideas to attract people to the area, and they thought Ithaca’s Porchfest might work well here, according to Tom Starinksky, a member of the founding committee.

“People descended on the neighborhood and there [were] hundreds of people in a small, Cleveland front yard that bled into the streets, and people naturally slowed down,” Starinsky said. “It continues to blow the organizers’ minds that it’s still going strong.”

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Larchmere Porchfest in 2017 [Courtsey Larchmere Porchfest]

Musicians of various genres, including rock, jazz and hip-hop, play at sites around Larchmere beginning at 1 p.m. The musicians are paid modestly, but it is more about exposure, Arrington said.

All but one of the acts are from Northeast Ohio. Hello Luna, an alternative rock group, is from Columbus.

“There are several concerts happening at one time,” Arrington said. “So we make it really hard to decide what show to go to.”

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