PorchFest, A Town Tradition

Reading, MA — Reading PorchFest is now in its sixth year and it is bigger than ever, achieving “town tradition” status as it takes place every fourth Saturday in June.

Its success wasn’t always assured, however, and it nearly died in its second year.

As you may remember, PorchFest had its birth during Reading’s 375th celebration in 2019. It was such a big hit, that organizers decided to turn this piece of the observance into an annual event, just as the Downtown Reading Art Walk (DRAW) has done. 

Early in 2020, plans for Edition Two were well underway when Covid changed the world. After weeks of hoping things would get better on time for the festival, the plug was finally pulled. Despite it being an outdoor event, there was no way it could have taken place in the midst of a global pandemic. 

The story could have ended there, and odds are it would not have been started up again. 

A funny thing happened, however. A few of the performers from the year before felt that they were not quite ready to give up. They thought that a virtual concert could be held. In all, 13 performers and bands signed on to the idea, as well as the crew at RCTV Studios. 

A slight change was made to the schedule. Rather than rushing things to get ready for the end of June, it was decided—for that one year—to hold it on the 4th of July weekend. It was broadcast for two days—the third and fourth—with about 16 hours of music. The concert was seen on RCTV’s local access station, and it was simulcast on YouTube and Facebook. 

Because of Covid, all Independence Day celebrations were canceled that year, leaving Reading PorchFest as the only show in town.

The next year, things were moved back outside, and a more traditional PorchFest was returned to front lawns, driveways, and, of course, porches. It has grown every year, and 95 musical acts are set to entertain this week.

All performances from that special year are still available for viewing at RCTVs YouTube Channel.

This year, of course, PorchFest is outside. All performances are free and open to the public from noon to six this Saturday, June 22nd.

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