Free music Porch & Park Fest returns to Joliet

Placher: ‘It’s nice to create these occasional opportunities for more than 40 musicians’

Laney Jones performs on a porch along Western Avenue. The Upper Bluff Historic District hosted Porch & Park Music Fest featuring a variety of musical artist at five different locations. Saturday, July 30, 2022 in Joliet.

Buoyed by the success of last year’s free “Porch & Park Fest,” Tim Placher of Joliet is organizing a second for Saturday.

The “Porch & Park Fest” showcases local and touring musicians for afternoon performances on porches in the neighborhood near the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet. A free concert will be held in the evening at Preservation Park in Joliet.

“Many people will show up to hear a musician they already know but may discover a new artist to them that they’ll continue to follow into the future.”

—  Tim Placher of Joliet, organizer of the "Porch & Park Fest"

The musical lineup includes The Selectones, Crooked Tails, national touring musician Phoebe Hunt, John Condron and The Old Gang Orchestra, Andrew Hibbard, Chicago Blues Angels, JRoss Green, Wonky Tonk, Anne Hatfield-Martin, Max Dunne, Pete Jive, Dan Dougherty, Michael & Amanda Roach, Nashville musicians Bonner Black, Tristan Bushman, Katie Pederson and Jefferson Rinck, teen band Valhalla and “The 815″ music program.

“We’ve got so many talented songwriters and performers in our local area. And most times, they’re each out there pursuing their art individually at dozens of venues,” Placher said in a written statement. “It’s nice to create these occasional opportunities for more than 40 musicians to come together for one community event. Many people will show up to hear a musician they already know but may discover a new artist to them that they’ll continue to follow into the future.”

All the porches are within a few blocks of each other and a short walking distance from Preservation Park.

Placher has become known for creating collaborative music events, such as the songwriters showcase at the University of St. Francis, a charity concert for the Kuzma Care Cottage in Wilmington and an Irish-themed show that benefited the Rialto Square Theatre Foundation.

Still, Placher said he worried last year that the “Porch & Park Fest” might not work.

“I think I explained it 500 times in the week leading up to it,” Placher saidt. “But when the day arrived, everything was just perfect. We had about 1,200 people by the time we started the evening concert, and everyone had a great time. So this year, we’ve got hundreds of ambassadors out there who can help explain how it works to first-time visitors.”

Placher said maps of the fest will be available at each porch and on the website. Members of the Cathedral Area Preservation Association will supply maps for self-tours of the historic neighborhood.

Attendees may bring chairs and coolers, Placher said. In the evening, Moe Joe’s Cajun and Caribbean Cuisine will sell food at Preservation Park.

Street parking is available throughout the Cathedral Area near the park, the nearby lots at University of St. Francis and at the west end of the field at Preservation Park.

Placher said the Porch & Part Fest” is extra special to him “because it happens in the neighborhood where I grew up.”

“It’s only possible because of the generous support of some of my childhood friends who grew up in the neighborhood, too, and feel a strong connection to it,” Placher said.

More music: pre-parties and after-party

A “Porch & Park” pre-party will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Elder Brewing, 218 E. Cass St., Joliet. Performers include Nina DeVitry, Philadelphia-area native, who is bringing her full band, and award-winning Michigan songwriter Katie Pederson.

Also on Friday, two of the porch musicians (Wonky Tonk and Andrew Hibbard) will perform at 9 p.m. at Chicago St. Pub, 75 N. Chicago St. in Joliet.

On Saturday, Uncle Sexy and The Nephews will perform at 9:30 p.m. at the Drunken Donut (Joliet Bakery, Deli and Liquor) at 821 Plainfield Road, Joliet.


WHAT: Porch & Park Music Fest

WHEN: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday (Joliet Cathedral area porches and 5:30 to 9 p.m. (Preservation Park)

WHERE: Porches: 613 Buell Ave.; 506 Buell Ave.; 602 Western Ave.; 623 Western Ave.; 708 Western Ave.; 903 Western Ave. and 617 Campbell St. Preservation Park is located at 701 Taylor St., Joliet

ETC: Free “rain or shine” event. Bring own chair and coolers. Moe Joe’s Cajun and Carribean Cuisine available for purchase at Preservation Park in the evening. Maps available at each porch and on the website.

INFO: Visit