30 bands set to serenade music lovers Saturday at Uptown Porchfest

todayAugust 19, 2023 21

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When organizers began reviewing acts to perform in the first-ever Uptown Porchfest, one goal was to keep it accessible — to not turn away musicians simply because their style was too strange.

“I felt so strongly, ‘Who am I to tell someone they’re not good enough or too weird to play Porchfest?’ … Nobody is too weird to play Porchfest,” festival organizer Lisa Murray-Martelly said.

Uptown Porchfest – which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday – is a low-key festival. Bands will play on porches along residential streets throughout Uptown as visitors stroll about and listen, some likely seated on lawns.

That desire to embrace a diversity of music and performers is a main draw for participants, along with a desire to help rebuild the renowned neighborhood’s reputation as an arty destination.

Rachel Usher, who volunteered her house on Aldrich Avenue as a venue, said she has been concerned about the area’s gentrification in recent years. Thanks to rising costs, Usher said, she thinks Uptown has lost some of its diversity. But she’s hopeful that free festivals like Porchfest can help reverse gentrification and help with community-building.

“I think we need texture back, that diversity back, and I think bringing music and artistry to this neighborhood is a big part of that,” she said.

Ngange Akale, singer-guitarist for Ngange & TheMasses, said he thinks the spirit of letting everyone participate aligns with his band’s mission to fight against inequity.

“It’s forward thinking. It’s giving people opportunities, and we wanted to be a part of that,” Akale said.

Akale, 37, started to take writing music more seriously following the murder of George Floyd. The protests and response also became a source of inspiration for his music, which has an anti-racism focus.

Musician PopEye McNamee said he hopes the festival can provide a space for healing among the punk community after musician August Golden was killed in a shooting at a house punk show on Aug. 11.

Other neighborhoods in Minneapolis have held similar front-porch musical events, including Powderhorn and Kingfield. But given how walkable Uptown is and its history as a hip enclave of the city, Murray-Martelly thought it deserved its own.

Murray-Martelly said she didn’t know other Minneapolis neighborhoods previously held similar events. Her idea came from her time living in Boston, where that city’s version of the event drew hundreds of bands.

Uptown’s iteration will consist of 30 bands at 17 homes and two businesses. The concerts will be spread across the Wedge on porches from Franklin Avenue, south to 28th Street.

The acts run the gamut, from Halloween-themed gothic jazz, to classical piano, to a variety of rock and punk bands.

Danny Paulson, a member of the Denim Boys rock band, said they might not be the most technically impressive act. More than anything, he hopes people have a good time.

“The Denim Boys promise is: If you come to a show and don’t have fun, you can either sue us or come to our house, take your shirt off and fight us,” Paulson joked.

PorchFest is free to all, and a full list of bands can be found online at

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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