Front Porch Music Festival to serenade Iowa City neighborhood

Longfellow neighborhood hosts its first annual Front Porch Music Festival this Saturday -- photo by Adam Burke
Longfellow neighborhood hosts its first annual Front Porch Music Festival. — photo by Adam Burke

A neighborhood music festival in Iowa City will feature a jam session and open air performances played from porches this Saturday. The Front Porch Music Festival starts at 2 p.m., and will take over the Longfellow neighborhood’s 400-700 blocks of Rundell, Oakland and Grant Streets.

Ukulele player and singer Jessica Egli-Davis says she was invited to play by Sara and Trevor Harvey, hosts to one of the festival’s several performance stages. She plays jazz standards, and says she hopes to recreate a “musical era” for Front Porch listeners, taking them back to a time before digital music players and music videos.

One of the organizers, Diane Platte, was an orchestra teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan where a similar neighborhood music festival started in 2011. The music of that community so moved her that she said, “I’ve been talking about it more or less ever since.”

The conversation about an Iowa City festival started at a neighborhood pie night when folks were discussing the camaraderie of the Longfellow area. Last fall, the festival began to take shape and Platte said the experience has changed her.

“The act of knocking on doors and meeting neighbors has already deepened my sense of connection to this community. I am so glad this festival is happening,” she said, “It’s going to be an awesome day.”

Another organizer and Longfellow neighbor, Jennifer Iverson, said the group encourages “community music making, collaboration and having fun regardless of whether we are amateurs or professionals or somewhere in between.”

Community choir Family Folk Machine will lead a sing-along concert. Jean Littlejohn, the founder and director of the choir said her group is non-auditioned and one of their guiding principles is that “everyone can and should sing, for their own health and happiness and for the health of the community.”

“The Front Porch Music Fest is a great event for the Family Folk Machine, because community-building is at the core of our mission,” Littlejohn said.

The Front Porch Music Festival runs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and you can find a map on their website. Performers are welcome to show up Saturday with instruments to sit in or trade notes with other Iowa City players and singers.

Front Porch Music Festival Schedule

Saturday, June 20 at 2 p.m.

2-2:30 p.m.

424 Oakland: Joe Brisben, guitar
611 Oakland: Ben Platte and Family, flute, cello, and trombone
426 Grant: Marcus & Trevor, guitar and dulcimer
513 Grant: Zoe Miller, voice and guitar
742 Rundell: Adrian and Oliver Bostian, piano
747 Rundell: Monica Basile and Jonathan Hansen, voice and guitar

2:30-3 p.m.

424 Oakland: Trio Incongruo
513 Grant: Sarah Hachtman, voice and banjo
742 Rundell: Sebastian & Diego Loría-Eivins, piano
747 Rundell: Gloria Hartley, cello

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3-3:30 p.m.

424 Oakland: LIROS, wind quintet
611 Oakland: Marc Janssen, Brandi Janssen, and Andrew Epstein, guitar, banjo, fiddle
513 Grant: Jessica Egli, voice and ukelele
742 Rundell: Jennifer Iverson & Company, piano and more
747 Rundell: Jason Clothier, jazz guitar

3:30-4 p.m.

611 Oakland: Bostian Family Players
426 Grant: Family Folk Machine
742 Rundell: Jennifer Iverson & Company, piano and more

4-4:30 p.m.

417 Grant: Von Wagner, rock band


  1. Wow, we would love to be apart of this if you do it again next year. We can play as Pennies on the Rail or we can bring the Johnson County Ukulele Club. Please add our name to the list!

    What a wonderful Idea!

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