The pandemic brought a lot of isolation and time inside of our homes. Now, it’s time for us all to step outside and open our doors to the local talent in Dorchester.
On June 4, you can experience what it would be like to walk through a real life shuffled Spotify playlist at Dorchfest, an outdoor music festival featuring 40 different artists performing on various neighborhood porches.
The inaugural event is being hosted by the Ashmont-Adams neighborhood and from 11:30 AM to 4:00 you can walk through the town while stopping to listen to the 30-to-60 minute sets of Haitain music, country music, folk music, Cape Verdean music, Indian music and more.
“We made a determination early on that we wanted to not just have a music festival, but have it represent the diversity of the Dorchester Neighborhood,” Dorchfest Chair Erin Caldwell said.
To kick it all off? Longtime resident Tim MacMaster will be playing his bagpipes on his former family porch on Fossdale Road at 11:30am. Later on, make sure to stop by the library where kids from Mather Elementary School will be singing and the Boston Police Department ice cream truck will be scooping!
With this wide range of musical genres, there will absolutely be something for everyone to enjoy.
Google Maps was used to help put together a route that made sense and Caldwell and other committee members walked along the streets to look for porches that seemed perfect for the event.
Although residences are a primary porch destination, small businesses are also offering up their porches and patios for the event, some even offering special deals. For example, The Industry Bar & Grill is co-sponsoring the event with Winter Hill Brewery, so be sure to stop by their porch.
While Dorchfest is brand new, the concept of Porchfest isn’t. It started in Ithaca, New York in 2007 and has become a national event ever since, with neighboring communities like Quincy and Jamaica Plain having their own event later in the summer.
Caldwell, who used to attend Porchfest when she lived in JP, wanted to bring that same environment and sense of community appreciation to her new home in Dorchester.
Especially after the pandemic, Caldwell feels that togetherness and willingness to work together is incredibly important. Plus, this is a safe, outdoor way to do so and get involved with your town.
The pandemic also made musicians and performers struggle. All of a sudden their way of life was halted, making it hard for them to earn a living. Because of that, it was a non-negotiable for the organizers of Dorchfest to pay each and every one of their acts.
Because the event is free, musicians will be paid via the donations made by those who attend the festival, along with sponsorships and grant funding. You can donate at dorchfest.com.
Additionally, volunteers are still wanted and welcomed to sign up at dorchfest.com/volunteer. Did someone say…free t-shirt? Whether you are a performer, a volunteer, someone offering up your porch or just someone who stumbled upon the event, all are welcome.
“Walk right out of Ashmont Station and you’ll hear music,” Caldwell said. “Come listen.”