Porchfest was one hot ticket in Modesto last year — in more ways than one.
The free event that put local bands on porch "stages" for a day of live entertainment garnered a warm community response and turnout for its fledgling run.
But the late-July outdoor date also brought late-July valley heat, so organizers decided to move the party to May this year. "It was too hot," organizer Kate Trompetter said in an email interview. "The only consistent piece of critical feedback we got last year was just that it was too hot."
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So this year's Porchfest is set to return to the La Loma, College and Graceada neighborhoods in Modesto on Sunday, May 20. As of now, it appears to be an effective move: the high in Modesto for last year's Porchfest neared 100 degrees; the forecast, according to weather.com, for this Sunday: 81.
That's a temperature far more enticing for people who look to turn out as homeowners host local bands all afternoon on their porch, patio and driveway stages. There will be 69 bands performing in 37 front yards, Trompetter said. Last year there were about 30 homes on the list.
Some of the host homes are returnees for 2018, while some are new venues. Both the homeowners and the audience members made last year a resounding success, according to Trompetter.
"We were overwhelmed and filled with such love and gratitude after last year's event," she said. "We couldn't have imagined how much people would enjoy it. We had no idea how many people would show up and streets were literally filled with people, youth and families."
Aside from talk of the hot weather, feedback from last year was "overwhelmingly positive," she added. "Mostly we heard about how much generosity and civic pride people felt."
This year, Porchfest junkies can buy a t-shirt to help support the nonprofit event. The shirts are $15 and will be available from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on the day of the event at 825 Enslen Ave. — one of the participating stages.
Porchfest is a phenomenon that started in Ithica, N.Y., in 2007 and since has spread internationally. Ruhi Sheikh and Tricia Rosenow organize Modesto's version along with Trompetter.
The local bands will play from noon to 5 p.m. A map of the homes participating is available on the event website, www.modestoporchfest.com. People who turn out to listen can take blankets or folding chairs.
Attendees are encouraged to roam from porch to porch — bike, walk, drive — during the sprawling five-hour concert.
And while the event is free, Trompetter stressed that tip jars will be out to support the bands playing.
"We do this event for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is that we want to draw attention to the talent and generosity that lives in Modesto," she wrote. "Show how much you value your (free) experience at Modesto Porchfest by tipping the musicians that are making it happen. They play for free far too often."