Let there be light
First annual Buffalo Porchfest braves the storm
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 16:10
A porch is the perfect place to watch a storm.
Through gray skies and a power-outage scare downtown, local musicians made Saturday a colorful and vibrant day by carrying out the first annual Elmwood Village Porchfest. Twenty-six bands were scattered throughout Elmwood Village to entertain locals, neighbors and music lovers for free.
“It’s totally Buffalo,” said Ryan Patrick Meegan, 29, of Amherst.
Ashley Smith, the communications coordinator of the Elmwood Village Association and a member of the Buffalo Porchfest Committee, was responsible for organizing Porchfest. The 22-year-old has been planning the event with Dayna Guzik, 39, of Boston, since the end of July.
Guzik found out about the Porchfest phenomenon when it started in Ithaca seven years ago. After taking notice of the concerts, local bands and the number of porches in Buffalo, Guzik thought Porchfest and the Queen City would be a great match.
“It’s a great way for neighbors to connect, for the area to support and promote local music acts and for everyone to enjoy a great fall day,” Smith said.
She views Elmwood as a driven community with a love for grassroots music. Smith matched each band with a “porch host” that provided a platform for the bands to play on as a stage.
Jim Lenker, 52, a porch host for a Buffalo native band, The Albrights, thinks Porchfest is a fantastic idea. Lenker didn’t only view the event as a way to promote local bands, but as a way to give people an opportunity to experience Elmwood’s neighborhoods.
“Just having a bunch of people hanging out in my yard, enjoying one of my favorite bands, is a gain to me,” Lenker said.
Brandon Barry, lead singer for The Albrights, showed his enthusiasm through his music. The Elmwood Village Association contacted the 29-year-old Buffalo native and his band to perform at Porchfest.
The band hopped on the opportunity right away.
Barry has lived in the Elmwood Village for about seven years.
“I think the vibe is awesome,” he said. “Music in the air is more of the idea than sitting or listening in front of the band, but a lot of people came out and it’s really great … Potentially with the amount of people here, you could close off streets and just have music everywhere.”
He believes it creates a better community atmosphere, which is an important aspect of living in the city of Buffalo.
From a spectator standpoint, Meegan agreed.
“I love the Buffalo music scene; I think this is the greatest city in the world,” Meegan said.
He, too, thought the crowd would be smaller, but Meegan was surprised to see the diversified group of people.
“I think community is such a strong thing here, people feel they have a common unity," Meegan said.