Cultivating Creativity: Coming to a porch near you: music, culture & community

By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council

Culture Days is a Canada-wide weekend celebration of arts, culture and community. This weekend, millions of people will be attending thousands of participatory arts events across the country. Programs take place anywhere and everywhere: from iconic cultural institutions, such as the National Gallery of Canada, to small black box theatres run by community volunteers.

The goal of Culture Days is simple: to invite the public out to experience art in its many forms and to highlight – and celebrate – the importance of arts and culture in our community. To quote, “[this] will be a vibrant weekend of expression to explore the intersections of creativity, the arts, and well-being.”

In Belleville, our Culture Days celebrations will be taking place this weekend on front porches across Old East Hill. That’s right: it’s almost time for Porchfest 2019.

“On behalf of the Rotary Club of Belleville, I’m really excited to announce the 11th annual Belleville Porchfest,” says organizer Sam Brady. “We’ve grown again, with over 50 venues, and an expanded territory.  We now have venues stretching from Pine Street in the North to Dundas on the South, and MacDonald Avenue on the East and now down into Downtown Belleville in the West. We have over 55 artists with diverse musical styles ranging from A Cappella to Heavy Metal. There is something for everyone!”

Porchfests are annual music events held across Canada and the United States. Started in Ithaca, New York in 2007, Porchfests attract dozens of performers and hundreds of spectators, bringing local musicians and neighbourhoods together to celebrate music and community.

Not only being bigger than ever, this year’s Porchfest is partnering with the Belleville Downtown District for an After Party, “…to keep the afternoon Porchfest vibe alive,” says Brady.  After enjoying an afternoon of neighbourhood music, Porchfesters are invited to come downtown to enjoy food from over 15 participating restaurants, live music (from the Latin sounds of the Farrucas duo at Chilango’s to Kristine Schmitt the bluegrass Billie Holiday at Sans Souci) and a festival atmosphere.

“The downtown community is looking forward to collaborating with Sam Brady and Porchfest this year,” says Marijo Cuerrier, Executive Director Belleville Downtown Improvement Area. “We wanted The After Party to have the same feel as Porchfest, offering tapas menus that allow visitors to travel to several different locations during the evening. We have some very cool venues and entertainment downtown and look forward to a fun afternoon and evening!”

Opening ceremonies for this year’s Porchfest are at 12:45 pm at Glanmore National Historic Site. Musicians will be playing from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, and then Porchfesters can head downtown until 9:00 pm to keep the celebrations going.

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