Rare Birds performing at last year’s Virginia Highland Porchfest.

On Saturday, May 14, Virginia Highland Porchfest will rock the neighborhood in a celebration of music and community. 

This all-day event will kick-start with a Rock n Run, in which community members will run a mile dressed as their favorite musicians and bands. Then, local musicians and bands will take the stage on porches throughout Virginia Highland. Porchfest goers can also enjoy a variety of local food trucks and vendors.

The second-annual Virginia Highland Porchfest is presented by White Claw Seltzer, 14 Hands Wine, Tequila Herradura, and Stella Artois. It is organized by the Virginia Highland District Association (VHDA), and additional local business and resident sponsors make this event possible. Porchfest is one of VHDA’s major fundraising events to support its mission to enhance the safety and success of the Virginia Highland business corridor while bringing together residents and community members. 

When VHDA was a new organization in the fall of 2020, Christina Carrick, the Director of Community Outreach, said she wanted to host a Porchfest. “There’s something personal about welcoming neighbors to come together to listen to some great music on your porch. It’s camaraderie. It’s pure. It’s grassroots. It’s what took place in neighborhoods organically many years ago. I wanted that in my neighborhood,” said Carrick.

Taking inspiration from the Oakhurst Porchfest, Carrick revved up the VHDA team, and they started planning the event in October 2020. Unsure of the outlook for COVID-19 in May of 2021, they continued planning knowing that it would be an outdoor event. According to Carrick, “All I was hoping for was a few porches and bands that would be available to play, and maybe it would draw a good little crowd of people that enjoyed some free music. What we got was over 40 porches, 50+ bands, incredible food trucks, top-notch vendors, and over 20,000 fest-goers. Mind-blowing.”

This year, Porchfest is turning up the volume, with 70 bands playing on over 55 porches throughout the neighborhood. With this expansion, VHDA has extended the event by one hour, has obtained permits to close Barnett Avenue for food trucks and vendors, and has introduced a VIP area to the event. There will also be a Kids Corner with fun activities. Although “there are new additions and accompanying nerves to this year’s VaHi Porchfest,” Carrick emphasized, “an overall giddiness and excitement” for this year’s event. 

Residents and visitors can plan for Porchfest by visiting VHDA’s website (virginiahighlanddistrict.com), where they can sign up for the Rock and Run, purchase VIP tickets, scout the merchandise pre-sale, and sign up to volunteer. 

As Carrick stated, “We know this community. We know and feel their support and readiness. The excitement is palpable. People have been ready since last year’s ended. We’re ready!”

Visit virginiahighlanddistrict.com for more details about Porchfest.

Judie Levy

Judie Levy is director of communications for the Virginia Highland District community organization, which organizes Porchfest.