2021 ASBURY PARK PORCHFEST A ROUSING SUCCESS

Words & Photos by Diane DiMemmo

Porchfest Highlight by Nick Manduley

Photos by Bill Baumann

October 6, 2021

CONNOR BRACKEN & THE MOTHER LEEDS BAND
OLIVIA BEC
P-FUNK NORTH

The 2021 AP Porchfest rippled through Asbury Park on October 2nd, garnering record attendance and offering over a hundred local acts across twenty-three porches. This was an increase from the seventy acts and sixteen porches that made up Porchfest’s 2020 lineup, which occurred against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The buzz the morning of the festival was feverish. So many attendees were planning their itineraries for the day using the AP Porchfest website that it temporarily went down. Just a small glitch for a magnificent event that filled Asbury neighborhoods, parks, and businesses with the sweet sound of music all day long.

AP PORCHFEST
BRYAN HANSEN BAND
AP PORCHFEST

The day began in Springwood Park at 11am with The Bryan Hansen Band kicking off the festivities amid a backdrop of residents, fans, street vendors, and organizations. The sunny day could not have been more perfect as organizer Jordan Modell (along with his team) welcomed everyone and thanked all of the artists for performing, as well as all the residents who donated their porches for the event.

KIERSTON LITTON
BACKHOUSE
THE BREAK PLANS
BOBBY MAHONEY

Then from 12-5pm, music lovers walked, biked or drove around Asbury Park to enjoy performances by local musicians ... fifty who have toured nationally and thirty who have toured internationally. Some fans planned out specific schedules and some were happy to just meander from porch to porch to discover new music. Children danced to the tunes and many dogs accompanied their owners as they enjoyed the day as well. Tailgating chairs and picnic blankets decorated lawns and Habitat for Humanity moved couches into their parking lot so that spectators could sit in comfort as they listened. It was truly a special community event.

AP PORCHFEST
AP PORCHFEST
AP PORCHFEST

Although the APV Team couldn’t make it to every porch, we were all amazed by the unquestionable talent and passion of the artists we did hear; brilliance that we know was indicative of every performer that day. (Click here for a complete list of musicians who performed at Porchfest.)

Attendees were overheard saying what a wonderful time they had and how they are planning to go to Porchfest again next year. The large team of Porchfest volunteers are to be commended on a job well done. Their event was just another example of what makes the City of Asbury Park so exceptional. To further support the Asbury Park Porchfest, please consider making a donation, sponsoring a porch, becoming a corporate sponsor, or placing an ad in next year's program guide. Email Porchfest for more information.

THE BREAK PLANS

THE BREAK PLANS

Photo: Diane DiMemmo


A PORCHFEST HIGHLIGHT

Brian Erickson

Asbury Park Vibes had the opportunity to catch up with singer-songwriter Brian Erickson and Fake Pockets frontwoman Devon Alana, both of whom performed at last year’s Porchfest and have returned for the event’s 2021 iteration. Following their respective sets at 209 6th Avenue, Erickson and Alana spoke on the state of their musical endeavors one year post-COVID.


“I’ve been really lucky in the respect that I’ve been able to maintain the work that I do during the day, and that I’ve been able to work from home and keep myself and my loved ones safe,” began Erickson, who’s solo set consisted of tracks off his 2020 album Little Secrets and a rousing cover of “I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles. “My band, The Extensions, we finally are starting to get back together; everyone is vaccinated and feeling more comfortable. It feels really good.”


Erickson mused on last year’s edition of the festival, and how it was a received by the community during the midst of the pandemic: “It almost felt like, when we did Porchfest last year, there was a little bit of a pause on [the pandemic] because it was outdoors, so it was a little safer,” said Erickson. “It was kinda nice just to see the community, y’know, out a little bit last year, and now it’s great to see that reinforced again this year.”

Devon Alana

And reinforced it was, as porches across Asbury Park saw high attendance throughout the sunny afternoon. By the time Devon Alana and her Fake Pockets bandmates finished their set, a crowd of between 30 and 40 people had amassed in front of the 6th Avenue residence.


“It’s definitely nice to be playing for people again, and not just for a computer screen,” said Alana, following their set of catchy tunes off the Magnolia Street EP. The Fake Pockets singer alluded to the mental health struggles she faced during the past year: “I didn’t really do much music. [The band] didn’t really get together, we only started practicing again a few months ago really.”


The COVID-19 pandemic sparked discussion on a variety of issues, with mental health being a prominent subject. This report from The Century Foundation found that moderate to severe anxiety and depression in adults spiked about 30% during the pandemic; young adults reported a higher peak in moderate to severe anxiety, coming in at 43.5%. Alana touched a bit on what’s helped her through her own struggles amidst COVID. “As far as what helps me actively, writing [music] does help, but straight up, meds and therapy; I think more people need to be honest and open with themselves. None of us are perfectly functioning human forms, we all need a little help with that.”

Brian Erickson found himself leaning on his own support system over the past year, stimulating his creativity by consuming non-musical artistic mediums. “Hearing and experiencing creativity through other media is kinda what helped me through [the pandemic],” said Erickson. “I tried to really look around at other art forms, appreciate them, and understand what made them special.”


Looking ahead, Erickson is gearing up for not only more solo shows, but a double-album with his band The Extensions as well. Meanwhile, Alana and the Fake Pockets crew are gearing up for their October 26th gig at The Saint opening for Bad Bad Hats; click here for information regarding tickets.

More Porchfest Photos!

AP PORCHFEST

AP PORCHFEST

PHOTO: DIANE DIMEMMO

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