The third-annual Virginia Highland Porchfest is drumming up to present a record-breaking lineup of 85 bands on 55 porches across the neighborhood on Saturday, May 20. 

With the influx of bands come a few enhancements to the event. Virginia Highland District Association (VHDA), which plans and operates the festival, has decided to centralize the last hour of the event by having a headliner, We The Party Band, perform at John Howell Park. They have also expanded the vendor market to include 40 local vendors along Adair Avenue, which will intersect with 30 food trucks placed along Barnett Street.

Virginia Highland Porchfest will get a running start at 11 am with the Rock n Run, a 1-mile fun-run, in which neighbors and visitors put on their favorite rock n roll garb or dress up as their favorite musicians. Music will follow the run until 6 p.m. on porches across the neighborhood, and the headlining show will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Kids can bounce around at Kids Corner, a fun zone for the youngest Porchfest attendees to play games, jump in the bounce house, stop for a balloon animal or one of three magic shows.

Vectralux performing at the 2022 Virginia Highland Porchfest. (Photo by Sarah Carpenter)

VHDA started Porchfest as a means of linking the community through the enjoyment and support of local musicians, all the while enhancing foot traffic to support the small businesses along the North Highland Ave corridor. Elizabeth Howell, General Manager of Atkins Park Restaurant and Bar, said, “Porchfest is such a great event! We love the energy of the community plus, it is fun to show off this great neighborhood to the rest of Atlanta!” 

Rachael Pack, co-owner of Kinship Butcher Sundry, commented on the “buzz that fills the neighborhood” during Porchfest. She stated that Kinship is “elated to be able to grace the grill” of local residents during Porchfest and serve up “breakfast sammies” the next day to recover from the busy event.

Local resident Sophia Rosen and her family have enjoyed the event since its inaugural year in 2021. Rosen stated that “The first year Porchfest came about I was so excited. I had no idea what to expect and I was overwhelmed with joy the first year. It was just out of COVID and it was a breath of fresh air. But when I arrived, I was in awe. It exceeded my expectations. I thought, ‘Oh maybe it is because I’m just out of quarantine.’ The next year was even more amazing.” 

A resident of the Virginia Highland Neighborhood since 2008, Rosen explained that the combination of each portion of the event “sold me forever.” This year, she is registered for the Rock n Run and her mother will be volunteering. “It brings joy and community to our historic, beautiful neighborhood. Cheers to the community who puts it on. We can’t thank you enough,” said Rosen.

Porchfest is presented by 14 Hands Wine, Jack Daniels and Coca Cola Can, Sweetwater, Tanteo Tequila, and Fever Tree, along with White Claw Vodka and Hard Seltzer. Festival goers can enjoy these beverages at six drink tents within the event perimeter. The event is co-sponsored by Audi Atlanta. It is also supported by small businesses and resident sponsors throughout the neighborhood. 

Proceeds from the event go towards public realm investments in the neighborhood such as plantings, clean-ups, and urban planning. Residents, visitors, musicians, and local businesses will up the volume while investing in their community at the third-annual Virginia Highland Porchfest.

Here’s a map and lineup of the day’s bands:

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.