Many Musicians are On Deck for Princeton Porchfest Performances – Town Topics

By Anne Levin

With some 60 bands and musical attractions on 11 front porches in town, the inaugural Princeton Porchfest this Saturday, April 23, is shaping up to be the all-encompassing community event that its planners had in mind.

Barring a severe weather event, homes on Murray Place, Linden Lane, Maple Street, Willow Street, Wiggins Street, Mt. Lucas Road, Birch Avenue, Witherspoon Street, and Leigh Avenue; along with the Princeton University building that fronts 185 Nassau Street and the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts at 102 Witherspoon Street, will be the stages for musical attractions from across the spectrum.

An eclectic-sounding list of names, including Mimosa Watusi, Ophelia’s Lover, Lemon Glaze Band, Cousin Oven, Hot Jupiter, and Circle Round the Sun, are on the schedule. More traditional-sounding attractions on the list include Westrick Music Academy, Princeton High School Around 8, the Princeton University Band, Wildcats A Cappella, the Princeton Pianists Ensemble, and the Sourland String Band. For a full roster, visit

Princeton Porchfest is the one of the highlights of the April ARTS Festival of Arts and Culture, which was inaugurated April 1 to reimagine the annual Communiversity street fair, which has drawn crowds in the range of 30,000 to Princeton in recent, pre-pandemic years. The Arts

Council of Princeton is behind the event, with support from Princeton University and the municipality.

“It is very, very busy,” said Arts Council Executive Director Adam Welch, during a break on Tuesday. “The logistics of navigating all the different porches, bands, and everything else are a lot, but I think we have it under control. It’s the first year for us to be doing this, so there is that element of the unknown. But we’ve had help from Asbury Park, where they’ve been doing this for years, and I think now we know what to expect.”

Enthusiasm from the community has been growing. “Social media has been active, and the bands are promoting themselves,” Welch said. “There is just so much to listen to, a real variety. People are excited about that.”

Each of the porch locations will host five bands, playing 45-minute sets. At 185 Nassau Street, 10 attractions will perform for 15 or 20 minutes each.

April ARTS programs were inspired by similar endeavors in Hightstown, Brooklyn, N.Y., Asbury Park, and Lambertvile. Princeton’s series began early this month with impromptu recitals on upright pianos, decorated by local artists and set up through town. When a call for donations of upright pianos went out to the community, Welch and colleagues were expecting five or 10. More than 30 were offered; seven were used. Professional musicians as well as eager amateurs have been testing them out.

The final April ARTS event is McCarter Theatre’s production of Ride the Cyclone — The Musical, on Saturday, April 30 at 8 p.m. The Porchfest concerts are planned to take place rain or shine, unless rain is torrential. “But that’s not going to happen,” said Welch. “It’s going to be great.”