June 2nd – NEW LONDON – The streets of New London will be enlivened with the sound of music on Saturday 5th June when the first citywide music event called Porchfest opens.
Free performances by 15 different music groups and solo artists begin at 11 a.m. in locations across the city – mostly in front of downtown shops as well as in front of some actual hometown porches.
The two dozen musicians will rotate to the identified locations and perform until mid-afternoon when the show moves to the city’s own stage in downtown New London at 2:30 p.m., with music by Kyle Ollah serving as a warm-up act will be a free main stage performance by Charlie Parr at 3:30 p.m.
The Duluth songwriter and performer is known in the upper Midwest for his country and blues music. His new album “The Last of the Better Days Ahead” will be released on July 30th.
At 3 p.m., between Ollah and Parr’s performances, the city’s open-air theater will officially be inaugurated as the Bill Gossman Memorial Stage.
Gossman was a noted potter, musician, and Mayor of New London before he died of cancer last year. Gossman had spoken to local musicians in the past about the city hosting Porchfest, which are music festivals held on people’s verandas across the country.
“We just never made it happen,” said Bethany Lacktorin, Gossman’s daughter-in-law, who is also involved with the New London Arts Alliance and the New London Little Theater.
But when the city council decided last year to name the city’s open-air theater as the Bill Gossman stage and to declare June 7th Bill Gossman Day, Lacktorin gave the framed documents to Gossman’s wife Janne.
Then the idea for Porchfest blossomed.
“It worked,” said Lacktorin.
When people come into town on Saturday, they will “get out and listen to lots and lots of music at all times,” she said.
Musicians will play and sing acoustic music in locations across the city, mostly in a four-block neighborhood around Central Avenue.
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“It will allow people to walk around town and listen to music in an intimate but COVID-safe environment,” she said. “It’s a way for the community to do something more than a block party.”
Janne Gossman said her husband loved the idea of having an open porch that people could visit and make music together.
The purpose of the Porchfest is “just to make music and listen to live music,” said Janne Gossman. “It’s a wonderful thing to look forward to.”
In addition to the Porchfest performances, two local venues also have live music on Saturday nights.
Miss Myra will perform at Goat Ridge Brewing from 7pm and Good for Gary will perform at Alley on Ash at 7pm.
“From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. there will be music in the city,” said Lacktorin.
Porchfest will replace the annual New London Music Festival in the open air, which took place for the last time in more than 20 years in 2019.
Porchfest will also replace the Little Theater’s June session of Open Mic, which will continue on July 9 with in-person appearances at the theater. Open Mic, held at the Little Theater on the second Friday of the month, provides an open stage for local musicians and storytellers.
Donations are accepted on every “porch” or donations to the New London Arts Alliance can be made with Venmo via @nlartsalliance
For more information, please visit the New London Arts Alliance’s social media page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 11 o’clock artists and locations include:
* FBC of the Goat Ridge Jammers – Sheldon Porch, 201 First Ave. NE
* Kyle Ollah – Gossman Veranda, 312 First Ave. SE
* Madisen Radabaugh – The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Mary & Laura – Kleine Theatergasse
* The Shore & the Sea – Anderson & Johnson Patio, Central Ave.
* Al Lieffort – Gossman Porch, 312 First Ave. SE
* Kelly Asche & Jonny – The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Kyle Ollah – Little Theater Alley
* John Marchand – Greenwater Garage
* Jais Lacktorin – Mill Pond Salon Lawn law
* Jonny & Brooke – The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Jeff Vetsch – Terrace of the Seeregion Bank
* Harp Harp Bluegrass – Kleine Theatergasse
* Al Lieffort – Anderson & Johnson Terrace, Central Ave.
* Vincent Mische – The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Jim Dyer – Little Theater Alley
* Steve Saccoman, Lake Region Bank Terrace
* Kyle Ollah – Bill Gossman stage
* Inauguration of the Bill Gossman Memorial Stage
* Charlie Parr – Bill Gossman Memorial Stage