More than 100 onlookers — some neighbors, others just passing through — gathered in the street, along the sidewalk, and on lawns Saturday afternoon outside Ruben Alonso’s Union Hill home.
“It was the perfect spot,” said Alonso, president at AltCap and one of dozens of homeowners who offered up their porches, stoops and front yards Saturday in the Union Hill, Roanoke and Longfellow neighborhoods for PorchFestKC, a one-day annual music festival. “We have a unique porch in the neighborhood. It’s untraditional — a stairwell with a landing on it that can serve as a porch — and it was cool to have the bands there, elevated above the sidewalk.”
Across the street, a trio of food trucks served festival-goers who watched a band play on Alonso’s steps before turning around to see another act on a neighbor’s porch, then back to Alonso’s for a different set of musicians.
“It got the neighbors out, which is great,” said Alonso, who also serves as president of the Union Hill Neighborhood Association. “We’ve struggled with programming to get neighbors engaged. We really want them to talk to each other, meet each other. And PorchFest is great for that.”
It was a scene repeated in various forms across Midtown as more than 150 acts performed on 68 stages in the three neighborhoods, according to PorchFestKC founder Kathryn Golden. About 6,000 festival-goers attended Saturday, she estimated.
Click here to read more about some of the bands traveling to PorchFestKC 2019.
“It’s a great concept and I really applaud people like Kathryn who take an idea and make it happen,” Alonso said, lauding Golden, who in her day-to-day career works as program manager at the Enterprise Center in Johnson County. “She puts in a lot of time and effort to pull this off — to coordinate all these bands. It’s a full-time job and she’s doing it on the side.”
Click here to read about Golden’s efforts to make PorchFestKC a reality.
“People should support things like PorchFest in Kansas City that are unique and bring people together,” Alonso added. “PorchFest specifically showcases the creativity of the city and activates our neighborhoods.”
Musicians, hosts, sponsors, attendees and volunteers — along with pleasant weather — were critical to Saturday’s successful PorchFestKC 2019, Golden said, specifically noting the support of transportation partners who helped people get between neighborhoods.
“RideKC and Kansas City Parks and Rec were game changers,” she said.
Family friendly events that attract all ages — like PorchFestKC — are the key to building community among busy neighbors who might not meet organically, Alonso said.
“Union Hill is an urban core neighborhood with a nice mix of housing stock — you have renters, homeowners, townhouse, condos, mixed demographics and mixed income with students and young professionals,” he said, noting the wide range of people drawn to the streets Saturday. “This is just a whole other level. We had people from all across the city coming through the neighborhood.”
Check out a photo gallery below showing a few of the 152 bands staggered Saturday across Union Hill, Roanoke and Longfellow.