From the porch at 118 Brentwood St., “The FLUKES” ukulele band played everything from “It’s In His Kiss” to The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey.”

Further down the street, the “Day for Night” duo performed Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway.”

Around the corner, “Chipped Enamel” played a catchy song with the refrain “I’m a going fishing” on 68 Best Street.

Dozens of bands performed on porches and in yards in the Deering Center neighborhood’s free music festival Sunday, as hundreds of people strolled the area.

“Porchfest is free music,” founder Amy Thompson explained. “The bands approach us and we make up a schedule, put them throughout the neighborhood. It feels so good for our community. It brings us together.”

Thompson started the festival eight years ago after moving from New York, where her neighborhood held a similar event.


The biggest job initially was explaining to people what the festival is.

It started out small, but “people saw that it worked. We kept going,” Thompson said.

Sunday afternoon’s schedule featured nearly 70 bands performing at different times throughout the neighborhood.

A crowd gathers around the group Maternal Insync at Deering Center’s annual Porchfest on Sunday. The group is made up of six mothers from their neighborhood. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

All of the musicians volunteer, as do “ambassadors” wearing matching shirts to help Porchfest visitors.

“We keep it non-monetary because we want it to be an exchange of peoples’ gifts,” Thompson said, noting this year’s slogan – “When people come together and say ‘yes,’ beautiful things happen.'”

In addition to the bands and volunteers, the event would not be possible without neighbors sharing their porches and yards.


John and Roberta Reid of Best Street are among those who hosted a band.

“In the last couple of years with COVID, people have isolated themselves. I go to meetings on Zoom still,” John Reid said, holding his grandson, Corbyn, 1. The Porchfest breaks down recent habits of staying away from others, he said. “We enjoy it tremendously. It’s music. It’s fun.”

Smiling, and moving to the music of “The FLUKES,” Pam Leo said this was the first Porchfest she has attended. With so many bands, “this is like ‘the Deering Center Woodstock,” Leo said. “It’s free. It’s wonderful.”

Kevin and Amy Kayne of Portland decided to check out the festival with their dog, Bauer. They weren’t disappointed.

“This is so awesome,” Amy Kayne said. “It’s very homey. Community. I think we’ve been lacking that a little bit.”

Next year’s Porchfest is planned for the Sunday following Labor Day, Thompson said.

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