Napa’s front porches, often thought to be a relic of yesteryear, will be restored to their full glory Sunday afternoon as a stage for local musical talent.
The porticos of 28 historic Napa homes will host Napa Porchfest, a grassroots music festival, from 2 to 5 p.m.
More than 40 bands of assorted genres — from classical to bluegrass — will set up on porches in Old Town and elsewhere in central Napa. Listeners are encouraged to travel from porch to porch, neighborhood to neighborhood, and sample some of Napa’s finest homegrown musical talent.
Porchfests are a phenomenon from the East, with Napa’s event likely the first one west of Ohio, organizers said. The event is co-sponsored by Napa County Landmarks and the Wildcat clothing boutique.
Genres include classical, punk, alternative rock, solo guitarists, reggae, techno and plenty of others. More than 120 musicians have signed up for porch play. Many porches will have two acts. All performances are free.
Concert sites are located in or around downtown. “We wanted to keep it centrally located. People can come by on foot, by bike — really anything but car,” said Thea Witsil, owner of Wildcat.
Witsil suggested planning ahead. “You obviously can’t hit up over 40 acts in three hours … so go on the website and take a look at the porches and bands. … Plan your route.”
Organizers have optimized their website for smartphone compatibility, allowing users to navigate the festival on the fly. Some porches will include QR tags, which people with smartphones can use for more information.
Festival goers are advised to bring lawn chairs, drinks and sandwiches. “Do everything you can to be comfortable and cozy,” Witsil said.
“It’s not your typical wine and food event,” said Juliana Inman, a Napa City Council member who serves on Napa County Landmarks’ board. “It really is bring your own, pack it in, pack it out. Be respectful of people’s yards. It really is low- budget.”
Musical acts include Deluna, an alternative rock group; a capella group Vocal Color; the Sow Belly Trio, playing Afro-Cuban sounds; Cliff Greenwood and the Monsters, Americana-punk-alternative-country; and 8 Hands Afoot, a classical piano group.
Classical pianists 8 Hands Afoot will be playing on Inman’s own property. “They’re going to play the entire Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, including repeats — it’s going to take over an hour to play that piece,” Inman said. It is the only act not playing on an actual porch, due to the use of two baby grand pianos.
A list of addresses and bands will be available at Napa Porchfest’s booth at Chefs’ Market Thursday evening.