Porch Rokr jams out at Highland Square
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Highland Square was filled with music and vendors on Saturday, Sept. 20 as the third Porch Rokr Festival went underway. The Porch Rokr Festival is a neighborhood event that uses the collective efforts of the community to turn porches into stages and fill the surrounding blocks with cultures from around the world.
The event attracted hundreds of people throughout the day to enjoy local music and arts. Over a hundred bands and performers take to porches and front yards to perform. With over twenty-three porches turned into stages, every genre of music was displayed at the event.
Zack Nelson, lead singer of The Brothers Band, said, “this event has a built-in crowd, you’re able to reach out to the older crowd and families that might not hear your band otherwise.”
Back up guitarist of The Brothers Band, Alex Gnap agreed with Nelson. “The main thing with this event is the exposure, you can’t get it any other way,” Gnap said.
After talking to The Brothers Band, an older gentleman came up to purchase their latest CD, which demonstrates their reach with this event is spectacular.
Stages varied from porches to parking lots. A mini skate park was also set up in front of one stage on Grand Boulevard allowing people to skateboard while listening to the bands that cycled through the stage.
The Highland Square Neighborhood Association puts on the entire festival and is completely run by volunteers. Two Porch Rokrs were held last year, but have been limited to only one in the fall due to the amount of planning required.
The festival moves each time it is held. Rebecca Jenkins, volunteer staff member, said, “they’re trying to highlight different parts of the neighborhood by moving it around.”
Jenkins is also a professor at UA and went on to mention that many of the volunteers, as well as whole bands contain UA faculty.
Porch Rokr also hosted many vendors and public figures to help them spread their messages. The Akron Dog Park organization had a booth to help raise money for the dog parks in the area so patrons could get treats and promotional items for their canine friends.
Many local art vendors also had booths set up across the neighborhood to sell and promote themselves during the festival.
Porch Rokr is a great way for people running for public office to reach out to the people the festival attracts. Michael Charney, who is running for State Board of Education, said, “I’m out here campaigning for the upcoming election. This is my district and these are the people who will need to vote for me.” Charney will also be speaking at the Student Union as part of his campaign on Sept. 30 in order to reach out to the younger crowd.
In addition to music, artists and vendors, the Porch Rokr also held workshops throughout the day to help aspiring artists. Workshops were held to help people learn yoga, recording equipment, and video production in one-hour time spans.
Despite being the third Porch Rokr, the crowd was significant and spoke of the event’s popularity. After the festival ended on Saturday, the planning for next year’s Porch Rokr commenced and the effort to organize the community for its fourth annual Porch Rokr began.