Five things you don't know about ... Larchmere Porchfest

The ninth annual Larchmere PorchFest is ready to rock the Larchmere neighborhood of Cleveland on June 17, featuring 30 bands playing from 30 porches for a night of sweet tunes and community togethernessThe full line-up of artists will be revealed at a May 18 fundraising event at The Grog Shop, with proceeds ensuring that the popular concert remains free and open to the public.

As the musically-inclined summer kickoff approaches, Fresh Water drops some 411 about the uniquely presented soiree you may not know.
1. PorchFest was founded by Katharyne Starinsky, an economic development specialist with the City of Shaker Heights. Starinsky created the family-friendly affair after learning about a similar shindig in Ithaca, New York. PorchFest draws well over 1,000 music lovers to the community each year.
2. The public get-together is named after the wide, wood-floored porches that serve as Larchmere's architectural signature. This stands in contrast to neighboring Shaker Heights, where the founding Van Sweringen brothers eschewed front porches when developing the community for Cleveland millionaires looking for an escape from the frenetic city and its sooty air.
3. Dozens of bands perform at PorchFest annually, bringing original, local music to the ears of happy attendees. Although the first year focused largely on indie rock, subsequent years have seen a broadening of genres that better reflects the neighborhood's diversity. Blues, folk, reggae, funk, hip hop and even opera acts are now invited to the one-day celebration. 
4. Music and good times are PorchFest's surface goals, but the event is also a beacon for independent local businesses situated within the region. Sponsors include Felice Urban Cafe, Shaker Quality Auto Body, Metheny Weir, Studio Graphique, and Macaroni Kid.
5. The Larchmere neighborhood is both quirky and iconic, consisting of ten blocks of homes, shops, funky public art installations and restaurants. Originally an ethnic Cleveland neighborhood, Larchmere now prides itself as a walkable, transit-friendly home for local enterprises and a host of residents. 

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.