Porch Fest, a first for Long Beach, is a hit


Porch Fest may be a new concept to Long Beach, but it did not take long for the idea to catch on as bands played Sunday afternoon on porches throughout the city, to the delight not only of listeners, but to the performers themselves.

Performers played tracks spanning the 1960s to the 2000s,  to original songs.

“It exceeded all of my expectations,” said Abbie Golding, who is both a board member of the Long Beach Arts Council and a performer for her band, Lost Licks. The Arts Council was a sponsor of the event.

Crowds beat estimates in terms of size, and were also supportive in nature.

“Seeing the crowds in the streets in all the different locations was just so amazing,” said Howard Kinzinger, member of the band called Maxine Vandate, and a resident of Long Beach.

“It was awesome to see crowds of people surrounding each stage,” said Golding. “Being able to share our local music was so important to us.”

Similar music festivals have sprouted out across Long Island and the concept of bands for their neighbors on porches has taken place in nearby Rockville Centre and in Sea Cliff and on the North Shore as well.

With the idea in mind, the production opted to start out smaller in size, despite dozens of homeowners applying.

The bands and their “stages” all sprawled across a few blocks of Long Beach, with multiple bands playing on West Penn Street, Washington Boulevard, West Fulton Street and West Beech Street.

“The hope is that we’re able to do it again next year,” Golding said. “We had such tremendous feedback from the community.”

The event, the first of its kind for the City of Long Beach, was produced by the Arts Council, with support from the city government, the Kiwanis Club, and Artists in Partnership, Inc.

With major enjoyment of the crowds and performers alike, it was also a chance for performers to interact with one another and hear a fresh taste in music.

“It was amazing to hear new music,” said Golding, referring to fellow Beech Street performer Maxine Vandate. “I had never heard their music before, but they were great.

For Golding and Kinzinger, it was especially nice to play in their hometown, where they were supported by close friends and newly-met neighbors.

“I’ve been in Long Beach over 40 years,” Golding said. “It’s the greatest thing to be able to play in our community. I love being able to see my friends, relatives and neighbors all out in the street enjoying themselves.”

“To be able to play in front of my friends and neighbors from Long Beach for the first time, it was an amazing experience,” Kinzinger added. “The outpouring from the community was incredible.”

When asked whether he and his band would come back again, Kinzinger put it simply:

“In a heartbeat.”