By Katie Garwood and Courtney Cox | firstname.lastname@example.org
Music filled the streets of Lincolnville Saturday as part of the community’s inaugural Porch Fest, an event with more than 30 local musicians performing on six porches in neighborhood.
Originally, the event was slated for November, but with damages to some homes from Hurricane Matthew, it was pushed back. Organizers persisted, holding fund-raisers and gathering donations to cover the cost and keep the event’s admission free.
“Music brings people together, and we wanted to do that,” said Jae Bass, the event’s organizer. “We wanted to share music with the community and give everyone a reason to explore the neighborhood, learn more about its incredible historic significance and to talk to each other.”
Other Porch Fests are held around the country throughout the year. But the Lincolnville Porch Fest is unique, considering its rich history, dating back to the 1800s, through the civil rights era to present day.
Typically, Lincolnville is a quieter area of St. Augustine, farther removed from the bustling, tourist-filled downtown area. But with Porch Fest, both Lincolnville locals and outsiders alike were able to spend time in the historic neighborhood.
Terry Gamble, who performed at the Twine Street porch, lives in Lincolnville and owns a business there.
“It’s really cool to see something like this happen for the neighborhood, it’s just cool to walk around and explore and be in Lincolnville,” Gamble said. “I think it’s good for the neighborhood, and for people who maybe don’t come in the neighborhood often to get a feel for it.”
Attendees from Lincolnville and outside attended the event. Ian Sotomayor, 17, lives outside the downtown area but said he has an affinity for the area and local musicians. He visits Lincolnville occasionally and said events like these are great for the neighborhood.
“I think it’s awesome that this Porch Fest is being held here because it brings attention to and helps remind people that Lincolnville is still here, it’s still active and it’s still part of this community,” Sotomayor said.
Not everyone in the neighborhood saw Porch Fest as a positive addition. Joanna Cooney, a Lincolnville resident, said she wasn’t sure how to feel about the festival.
“We bought [in Lincolnville] because it was a dead-end peninsula,” Cooney said. “I liked it when we weren’t on the tourist map, when they didn’t even want to acknowledge that we were here, that’s what I liked.”
While Bass estimates around 1,000 people attended the Porch Fest, it still maintained an intimate, folksy setting. Meg Beville hosted bands on the porch of her Oneida Street home, one of the first to be built in Lincolnville.
“I love it,” Beville said. “It reminds me of old block parties.”
Kyra Liedtke, 17, attended the event with Sotomayor. She said she felt as if the event capitalized on it’s intended purpose: to bring people together through music.
“Bringing these generations together over music, over culture, over art is such an amazing thing,” Liedtke said.
See video of the event here.