180 Bands, Dancers, Storytellers, Comedians & More Performing at JP Porchfest on July 13

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Pretty much, you will barely be able to move in Jamaica Plain this weekend without seeing a JP Porchfest performance!

West End House performs on the steps at the former Blessed Sacrament Church during JP Porchfest on Saturday, July 9, 2016.

This is the 6th Annual Jamaica Plain Porchfest, and it has never been more popular or robust: 180 bands, and artistic groups -- theater, dance, spoke word, storytelling, and comedy -- will perform on 97 porches.

"JP Porchfest is almost like 100 little mini-festivals! And people have repeatedly told us that as they walk or bike around, they feel so much joy percolating in the air!" said Marie Ghitman, who co-founded the festival with Mindy Fried.

This year is different for Fried and Ghitman, as they are serving as advisors and supporters, after handing the reins to Devin Ferreira and Eli Pabon, who are co-producing the awesomely massive JP tradition.

For Fried and Ghitman, the festival has always been more than music.

"We have done a ton of outreach to make the festival reflective of the diversity of our community. It’s amazing to have a huge variety of artists performing at the event! And the talent of the artists is remarkable," said Fried.

Jamaica Plain Porchfest: Songs in the Key of JP from Samuel J Sacks on Vimeo.

The number of performers has tripled since the first year, and many of them have come back year after year, forming bonds with their porch hosts, and requesting to play at the same spot.

"Tempo International Rhythm Section always performs at the Nate Smith House, an affordable apartment house for elders, managed by JPNDC. Every year, they request one another!" said Ghitman. "Tempo pulls in a huge crowd and they get everyone dancing. The residents of Nate Smith House cook up a storm, offering delicious food like empanadas to everyone who comes to their porch."

The performances also range greatly. The Eliot School will feature a Circus Porch with Commonwealth Circus and Circus Up, which be presenting, and teaching mini circus lessons in juggling, stilt walking, hula hooping, acrobatics, aerials and more. The Eliot School is also hosting a Theatre Porch, with an octet of troupes offering one act shows.

"There are so many different performances I’m excited about. Like youth spoken word artist Lowkey Jay from English High School, and Khalifa and Koliba, a multinational Afro-pop band that brings together traditional and modern styles including West African Rhythms, Hi Life, Reggae, Ska, Zouk and more," said Ferreira.

Photo credit Samuel J. Sacks.

"I’m really excited about Teatro Brasileiro de Dançe, directed by Isaura Oliveira who is a master dancer from Bahia, Brasil. This will be a performance as well as demo classes," said Pabon. The dance and percussion class demos are open to everyone.

While every performance porch is worth checking out, here are a few more unique ones:  Balkan group Minouchka, and Orkestra Marhaba, perform music from Anatolia, Ottoman; Never Too Late to be a Poet is a group of senior poets; Dunamis, an organization that supports emerging young artists of color, is curating six hours of music at the Loring-Greenough House; And while it seems hard to believe, the most revered and well-known Boston street performer, Keytar Bear, is coming to JP Porchfest for the first time.

"There’s so much going on at one time. We always say, you can either roam around the festival and find cool stuff everywhere, or you can study the map and pick out a few of your favorite artists. Either way, it’s going to be amazing!" said Ferreira.

The 6th Annual JP Porchfest is taking place on Saturday, July 13 from noon to 6 pm, with a rain date of July 14. Click here for more information about all of Porchfest, and a map of all the performers and locations.

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