Fenway Porchfest Brings Afternoon of Free Music to Neighborhood

The inaugural Fenway Porchfest brought an afternoon of free music to 25 diverse, outdoor stages throughout the neighborhood on Saturday.

Made possible through an unprecedented partnership between three nonprofits – Fenway Civic Association, the Fenway Alliance and the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation) – the event included 70 musicians performing hip-hop, folk, rock and classical, among other genres, at venues ranging from The Verb Hotel to the Massachusetts Historical Society to the Emerald Necklace. And since porches are few and far between in the Fenway, the event motto was: “Music everywhere, porches optional.”

Leslie Wu Foley, director of audience development for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, said the BSO was happy to participate in the event by transforming the steps of Symphony Hall into one of the outdoor stages.

“I think this is a fantastic idea, given all the talent in the neighborhood, and a great way to galvanize the community,” Wu Foley said. “It also gives the BSO a chance to physically bring the music outside for all to enjoy.”

Joe Foley, Wu Foley’s husband and the trumpet player for the Boston Pops Esplanade Quintet, which performed outside Symphony Hall, said, “It’s been a lot of fun, and we had a nice crowd of people coming out to hear music on a beautiful day.”

Isak Kotecki, the rhythm guitarist and backup vocalist for Morningbird, echoed this sentiment. “It’s a great atmosphere. I love the vibe, and it’s a beautiful way to hear new music,” he said,

Sean Murphy, whose daughter Helen Murphy is active in the Fenway CDC and helped organize the Fenway event, attended his first Porchfest in his hometown of Quincy last year.

“It’s wonderful music on a wonderful day in a wonderful place,” Murphy said of Saturday’s event.

Porchfest started in Ithaca, N.Y., in 2007, and the events are now held in more than 100 cities nationwide. The first Boston-area event took place in Somerville, followed by Jamaica Plain three years later and Brookline and Arlington in 2016.

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