Do cool things in Tacoma and you might find yourself featured here. Take Irina Rasputnis, for example. I met Irina when she needed a drummer in her outlandish marching band. More on the band later. First, I must bring rapidly approaching Porchfest to your attention! She created the event last Summer.
Porchfest, according to the website, “is a free, walkable music festival where front porches become musical stages for one magical afternoon.” The magic happens August 5th in central Tacoma, featuring a plethora of acts on porches within the geographic territory formed by 6th Ave, Sprague, South 12th and Cedar. The day is broken into a 1-3pm segment on the east side of that square and a 4-6pm segment to the west near Cedar. They sliced it up that way to keep it walkable. And by the way, you’ll never cross a busy street!
Besides all of the music and fun, the event is about community building. “This is the one day of the year,” says Irina “where it is socially acceptable to walk into your neighbor’s yard and say ‘hey, I’m your neighbor’ and maybe share an adult beverage.” Irina put all of this together for the simple reason that she wanted a Porchfest that she could attend, like the one she watched flourish in the Boston area. Because it didn’t exist here, she had to create it. Now in its second year it already feels like an established event. Irina noticed it was far easier to recruit bands and porches this year because people had heard of it. Eighty bands and acts are lined up to perform on fifty porches! Local businesses, such as the Grand Cinema, are getting involved. Radio stations have expressed interest in broadcasting live. People in the neighborhood are (mostly) excited too, some even shifting travel plans to be in town for it. Irina hopes that people in other neighborhoods will take notice and bring Porchfests to their own neighborhoods. She is standing by to provide guidance and resources!
We hope to see you at Tacoma Porchfest 2023!
Now about that band… Tacomarama is a mobile brass band inspired by, but not trying to replicate, second line jazz bands from the streets of New Orleans. The style of music is eclectic including second line, Eastern European inspired songs and reimagined pop songs. They play mostly community events, usually about one per week. Anyone can join, regardless of age, experience and even instrument. They especially need people to play bass instruments like tuba, sousaphone and trombone, as well as trumpeters. Players may come and go as they please, joining on gigs and rehearsals that fit with their schedules.
One thing I love about bands like Tacomarama is the mobility aspect. Unlike bands who set up gear on a stage and stay put, street bands like this one can rove! They enter a space, invited or uninvited, and create surprise. I love to watch faces light up when a big noisy street band storms in from out of the blue. It is pure fun. People dance!
If you would like to know more about Porchefest or Tacomarama please ask me to connect you with Irina! You will enjoy her creative energy.