Porchfest is a music festival held on the porches of the Fall Creek and Northside neighborhoods of Ithaca, NY.

Porchfest began in 2007, inspired by some outdoor ukulele playing and a conversation between neighbors Gretchen Hildreth and Lesley Greene. They came up with the idea for it that day and gathered 20 bands to make it happen in September of that year. The number of bands has increased every year since then, with 185 in 2016.

The team has grown too. Andy Adelewitz mercifully joined the organizing team in 2013. Lesley’s husband Robbert wrote software to assist in scheduling the bands in 2014. We now get help on the day of Porchfest from several dozen volunteers.

We have received sponsorship support from Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services since 2011, which has been extremely helpful, as Lesley and Gretchen were paying out of pocket for most of the expenses before that. We receive generous donations from the community as well that we collect at Thompson Park during Porchfest and online through our website. And let’s not forget to mention the many bands who play each year for their neighbors and visitors. That’s what it’s really all about!

Each year, we have asked a local artist to create an original painting for us. Our festival artists have been:

  • Nina Widger – 2007-2013, plus an intersection repair in 2016
  • Jim Garmhausen – 2014
  • Carmel Rome – 2015
  • Rosemary Adelewitz – 2016

Porchfest has grown not just in Ithaca but around the continent. There more than 60 other Porchfests that we know of in the U.S. and Canada. More than two dozen of those had their first Porchfest in 2016, so it looks like momentum is building!

Thanks to everyone who makes it happen.