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Arts & Culture

Porchfest returns to the Elmwood Village

Buffalo Porchfest 2022
Dallas Taylor, BTPM
Nothing kicks off a Buffalo summer quite like the Elmwood Village Porchfest!

Since 2013, every third Saturday in the month of May has meant Porchfest in Buffalo’s Elmwood Village neighborhood. Music bands spanning numerous genres descend on the neighborhood to…play on porches.

What started as a few bands playing on a few porches has grown into 185 bands playing on roughly 70 different porches this year.

A band plays at Porchfest in the Elmwood Village
Audrey Herman
A band plays at Porchfest in the Elmwood Village

Elmwood Village Association Executive Director James Cichoki says logistics play a huge part in who plays, on what porch they play and at what time.

“It's a fully inclusive event,” he said. “If you register to play, you will play. We will find you some a porch to play on. And sometimes hosts just register and say, I don't have any bands. Find me some. And conversely, sometimes bands sign up and say, find me a porch to play on. So, it becomes a big game of logistics with me, and a lot of post it notes and a lot of coffee and I, I match things up because people have specific needs.”

And sometimes the bands do the legwork themselves.

“A lot of times, hosts will come to me and say, ‘I already have a slate of bands that I'm playing, or a band will come and say, Yes, I'm playing on a buddy's porch,’” Cichoki said.

As Executive Director Cichoki oversees other events in the village like the Farmer’s Market on Bidwell Parkway, the Elmwood Village ArtFest, a summer concert series and more.

Not only are these events a way to bring the neighborhood together but also to bring people who do not live in the neighborhood to check out the small businesses along the Elmwood strip.

Porchfest audience
Audrey Herman
Porchfest audience

“They come into the neighborhood, they check out the restaurants, they stop in and have a drink at one of the bars,” he said. “They might not do a lot of shopping the day of porch fest or something, but they might see something in a store window and think, you know what, I have to come back here next weekend, or I need to come back here and do my Christmas shopping. So, all of these events are great for the people who live here. They're great for the businesses. It's just it's lovely to see our neighborhood thrive like this.”

New this year, on Lafayette Avenue, is a carnival-like experience featuring a Ferris wheel and photo booths.

Arts & Culture WBFO NewsPorchfest
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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