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Jun. 2—NEW LONDON — The streets will be alive with the sound of music Saturday, June 5, in New London as the inaugural city-wide musical event called Porchfest is launched.
Free performances by 15 different musical groups and solo performers will begin at 11 a.m. at locations around town — primarily in front of downtown businesses as well as a few actual hometown porches.
The two dozen musicians will rotate to the identified locations and continue performing until mid-afternoon when the show shifts to the city-owned stage in downtown New London with music by Kyle Ollah at 2:30 p.m., which will serve as the warmup act to a free main stage performance by Charlie Parr at 3:30 p.m.
The Duluth songwriter and performer is well-known in the upper Midwest for his county and blues music. His new album, "The Last of the Better Days Ahead," will be released July 30.
At 3 p.m., in between the performances by Ollah and Parr, the outdoor city stage will officially be dedicated as the Bill Gossman Memorial Stage.
Gossman was a well-known potter, musician and mayor of New London before he died last year of cancer. Gossman had talked with local musicians in the past about the town hosting a Porchfest, which are music festivals that are held across the country on people's front porches.
"We just never quite got around to making it happen," said Bethany Lacktorin, Gossman's daughter-in-law who is also involved with the New London Arts Alliance and the New London Little Theatre.
But when the City Council decided last year to name the city-owned outdoor performance stage as the Bill Gossman Stage and to declare June 7 as Bill Gossman Day, Lacktorin delivered the framed documents to Gossman's wife, Janne.
That's when the idea for Porchfest bloomed.
"It fit the bill," said Lacktorin.
When people come to town Saturday, they will "step out and hear lots and lots of music at all times," she said.
Musicians will be playing acoustic music and singing at locations throughout town, mostly in a four-block area around Central Avenue.
"It will allow people to walk through town and hear music in an intimate but COVID-safe environment," she said. "It's a way for the community to do something more than a block party."
Janne Gossman said her husband loved the idea of having an open porch where people could visit and play music together.
The purpose of Porchfest is "just for the sake of making music and listening to live music," said Janne Gossman. "It's something wonderful to look forward to."
On top of the Porchfest performances, two local venues are also hosting live music Saturday night.
Miss Myra will be performing at Goat Ridge Brewing, starting at 7 p.m., and Good for Gary will be performing at 7 p.m. at Alley on Ash.
"There will be music in town from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.," said Lacktorin.
Porchfest will take the place of the annual outdoor New London Music Festival, which had its last run in 2019 after more than 20 years.
Porchfest will also take the place of the Little Theatre's June session of Open Mic, which will resume July 9 with in-person performances at the theatre. Open Mic, which is held the second Friday of the month at the Little Theatre, provides an open stage for local musicians and storytellers.
Donations will be accepted at each "porch" or donations to the New London Arts Alliance may be made with venmo via @nlartsalliance
For more information, visit the New London Arts Alliance social media page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 11 a.m. performers and locations include:
* FBC by the Goat Ridge Jammers — Sheldon porch, 201 First Ave. N.E.
* Kyle Ollah — Gossman cabin porch, 312 First Ave. S.E.
* Madisen Radabaugh — The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Mary & Laura — Little Theatre alleyway
* The Shore & the Sea — Anderson & Johnson patio, Central Ave.
* Al Lieffort — Gossman porch, 312 First Ave. S.E.
* Kelly Asche & Jonny — The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Kyle Ollah — Little Theatre alleyway
* John Marchand — Greenwater Garage
* Jais Lacktorin — Mill Pond Salon lawn
* Jonny & Brooke — The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Jeff Vetsch — Lake Region Bank patio
* Harp Harp Bluegrass — Little Theatre alleyway
* Al Lieffort — Anderson & Johnson patio, Central Ave.
* Vincent Mische — The Happy Sol, Main Street
* Jim Dyer — Little Theatre alleyway
* Steve Saccoman, Lake Region Bank patio
* Kyle Ollah — Bill Gossman Stage
* Dedication of the Bill Gossman Memorial Stage
* Charlie Parr — Bill Gossman Memorial Stage