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RED BANK: PORCHFEST TO FILL EARS & HEARTS

An interactive map for the event displays the lineup of acts at each location; click on circled numbers to view. Below, Carlotta Schmidt is among the scheduled artists. (Photo from YouTube. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

carlotta-schmidt-220x130-5111398It was not that long ago that Red Bank was a place of large-scale, outdoor music festivals. One needn’t be ancient to recall the sprawling, weekend-long Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival in Marine Park each summer, or the spring-and-fall festivals in the White Street parking lot, both of which went dark this year.

But this Sunday, live, open-air concerts come roaring back to the borough in a new, decentralized model that’s been road-tested elsewhere: Porchfest, a five-hour eargasm of 70 acts spread across town on 21 residential porches, plus 11 more acts at a previously scheduled music fest behind a dentist’s office.

lunatic-chair-100522-500x403-6758465Acts as diverse as the heavy metal band Lunatic Chair, above, and songwriter Jim Crawford, below, are in the lineup of more than 70 performers. (Click to enlarge.)

jim-crawford-1-020510-220x165-5845351Organized by Billy Portman, the town’s presumptive next mayor (he’s unopposed in the November 8 election) and Marta Quinn, senior development director at HABcore, Porchfest promises a nonstop cornucopia of live reggae, jazz, soft acoustic, heavy metal and who-knows-what by bands with intriguing names.

“This brings together so many elements that are foundational for Red Bank: the arts, residential involvement, a sense of community and participation, and actual face-to-face interactions,” Portman told redbankgreen in an email this week. “I love the fact that this happens right in our neighborhoods.”

Modeled on Asbury Park’s Porchfest, which has been running for six years, and others around America, this one was suggested by Quinn, who asked him to help pull it together, said Portman. “I was an instant ‘yes,'” he said.

Quinn did not respond to a redbankgreen email.

Portman said he and Quinn had no trouble getting homeowners to volunteer their porches. Some put together their own schedules, and “others were open to having whoever play.” Lining up acts was also not difficult, he said.

Here’s what to expect at Porchfest, which runs from noon. to 5 p.m.:

• Two members of the party band So Watt, in which Portman is a co-lead singer, are scheduled to play on his porch, at 90 John Street (map location 9), but without him.

“I’ll be running around making sure things go smoothly,” he told redbankgreen. “Hopefully I can hop up for a song or two.”

• At 56 South Street (8), homeowners Audrey Oldoerp and husband Tim Blankley will host five acts, including singer-songwriter-guitarist Jim Crawford, a borough resident.

Also on the wraparound Victorian porch/stage are Zeke Moffitt and the Late Juliets, a band that includes another South Street resident, Jeff MacPherson.

“The idea of having five different bands play at our home is amazing,” Oldoerp said in an email. “Jeff asked us if we were interested a while back, and it was a no-brainer.”

• At 52 and 53 West Sunset Avenue (15 and 14), festival-goers will get to hear concerts from two porches across the street from one another, alternating each hour. Swivel chairs recommended?

• At the home of Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, at 146 Branch Avenue (10), the Red Bank Jazz Arts project will present an all-jazz lineup featuring the Jazz Arts Academy Allstars; Zach Lorelli Trio; Carlotta Schmidt (a high school student touted as the “busiest musician on the Jersey shore”); and Audra Mariel and a Real Human Jazz Band.

• Also hosting are Councilwoman Kate Triggiano and her husband, David Triggiano, at 22 Leighton Avenue (18 on map), and Democratic council candidate John Jackson, at 133 East Bergen Place (3).

• Some acts with interesting names: Shred Tank (2); Lunatic Chair (3); ladyparts (6);  and Sick Backflip (7).

• The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center will host a porch concert by Latin-music band Xol Azul from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

• Because it was washed out by last weekend’s rain, Zeik Dental Jam, behind the Maple Avenue offices of dentist George Zeik (22), has been rescheduled to coincide with Porchfest, and will feature 11 acts over five hours.

• Looks like there’s little chance of a washout for this one. The weather forecast for Sunday is Porchfest-perfect: sunny, with temperatures peaking in the mid-60s, according to the National Weather Service.

• Bring a lawn chair or beach blanket and water. No booze, please: Portman says this is an alcohol-free event.

Also: Portman and Quinn ask that festivalgoers “attend responsibly,” taking care when walking, biking or scootering around town, and keeping streets clear at venues.

• Follow the event on Instagram @redbankporchfest.

• Making it all possible, Portman said, are the event’s sponsors:the Count Basie Theatre, HABcore, John Jackson,  ShopRite, the Jazz Arts Project and Tom Bunge.

Here’s another way to access the map, and here’s the full, printable schedule (click to enlarge):

red-bank-porchfest-lineup-100922-500x336-6501675If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.

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