Don't miss PorchFest DSM and the Together Through Sound Festival this weekend in Des Moines
Dream, if you can, of a neighborhood where music blooms in the front lawn like late summer flowers. PorchFest DSM aims to do just that. Celebrating its second year, this event is part of a greater national grassroots movement to connect musicians with porches for a performance that connects friends, neighbors and music fans with an open message to welcome everyone.
This year will feature 23 unique performances staged throughout the historic Union Park neighborhood in Des Moines on Sept. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with many familiar faces from the popular Monday Night Live! series such as Abbie Sawyer, D. Smith and Joel Sires performing on private, residential porches.
“Dave and I were invited to play PorchFest in Kansas City in 2019, and we fell in love with the idea. There are so many talented songwriters and musicians in this town, we thought this would be a great way to showcase Iowa talent," said producer Anne Ducharme-Jones, who you might have guessed is one-half of the Americana duo Ducharme-Jones with her partner, Dave.
To kick things off, the Findley Elementary music program will perform at 11:30 a.m. at the Carousel in Union Park.
“Findley is a very unique elementary school that integrates music and the arts throughout their entire curriculum. Union Park is so lucky to have such a creative team working with their kids,” added Ducharme-Jones. “We hope it brings positive attention to the Union Park neighborhood and shines more light on the amazing musical talent we have here in Iowa. It’s a great way to introduce original songwriters to people who might not otherwise get out to hear them. And for music aficionados, it’s a beautiful backdrop to go hear some of their favorite artists.”
Three sets not to miss at PorchFest
Tommy Doggett recently released his family-inspired instrumental album Lines + Lineage which reveals not only the depth of his artistry, but also his deep appreciation for where he comes from. When you hear his songs, it’s like meeting his family, and I think that’s perfect for a community event like this one, where our friends and family get to meet.
James Tutson’s music is like soul food. If you don’t know what that means, you can’t miss his performance and he’s coming in all the way from Iowa City to deliver! Check out his latest release, Happy.
Girls Rock! Des Moines has been laying a foundation for young musicians in the metro for many years and has generated some of the artistry that we see on festival stages across the state and beyond. Consider this performance an opportunity to get a preview of what the next wave of Des Moines musicians sounds like!
Together Through Sound
So, imagine a perfect day where we were riding our bikes or taking our babies on a walk through Union Park, yes I brought snacks, and we don’t want such a lovely time to end. This weekend, it doesn’t have to. When you’re done at PorchFest, stroll over to the Riverview Park amphitheater and connect with a new event from the B. Well Foundation called Together Through Sound.
This party begins at 1 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m., featuring more than 100 musicians from central Iowa that will reach across genre and culture to promote respect and cooperation throughout the community. In addition, more than 20 visual artists will be displaying and selling their work along with a Nonprofit Village to raise awareness and visibility to many of the organizations at work in the Des Moines metro area. Pied Piper Studios will be curating a “make-your-own-instrument” bar for the kids, and I hear there’s face painting.
I’m gonna be a tiger or Spider-Man.
Together Through Sound will feature a wide variety of musical genres including blues, jazz, classical, hip hop, Afrobeats, featuring artists like Damani Phillips, Son Peruchos and Lani, who is celebrating the recent release of her new album Love, Lani.
“I hope that this event can showcase a whole new world of Latino music and culture to those who have never experienced it before! We're so excited to present multiple Latin American countries in one group, and to bring on the party,” Lani said. “I'm hoping everyone feels brave enough to take a chance to dance.”
And how do we finish a perfect day? I might suggest a symphony orchestra. To close the day, The Together Through Sound Collaboration Concert will include the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble led by Dr. Tim McMillan along with high school orchestra students from the Des Moines Public Schools collaborating with various musicians featured earlier in the day. Joshua Barlage will conduct this concert that will showcase compositions from Bill Campbell and Adalyn Sidon, a 14-year-old student in Des Moines.
The opportunity to juxtapose established musicians with students beginning to blossom is potentially the greatest takeaway from this inaugural community event. To foster growth through such a unique experience can do more than make memories — it can bend the creative future of a community.
For at least one day, we can stop saying there’s nothing to do in Des Moines. If you open your eyes and take a listen, you may realize how much beauty surrounds you.
And the best part is that it’s all free.